Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Last northern post

After almost a week of grey skies and drizzle, it has cleared up for my final night in Inuvik.  In less than twelve hours, I'll be on the flight bound for Whitehorse to overnight before travelling onward to Vancouver the next morning.

On Monday, my co-workers and students held a party for me and showered me with gifts, cards, and farewell wishes.  I was touched, but part of me had already been drained of all emotion before then.  After moving out of my house last week, I've been living out of my suitcase at my friend's house, in essence already detaching from Inuvik, already just an interloper.

On this last night, I had one last meal at one of the two restaurants in town.  Then, it was on to two of my dear friends' house to have tea and fresh fruit for dessert.  Shortly before midnight, I was again alone with my thoughts, as my eyes fixated on the calm of the river and the pinkish horizon. Even the blazing gold of the midnight sun is no more.  In another month or so, the northern landscape will transform into its vibrant autumnal wonder, and I won't be here to witness it.

I really needed someone's reassurance on this last night, someone to just be here, to sit across from me, to wrap me and my emptiness up.  I reached out to one of the "ghosts" of my past, someone whom I've been unable to let go of.  He told me that everything would be all right, but in my own inadequate, inarticulate, blankness of soul, I sensed the same in him reflected back to me. In our strange disconnect, I ended up more lonely, alienated from myself even.

I don't want to be told that everything will be all right. I don't want to be told what excitement awaits me. I need time to grieve, to go through the welling of emotion, the ensuing numbness. In time, I'll embrace the city again, mold myself to fit the city once more. Until then, allow me space to feel the immensity of this loss, to feel lost and to fear that I will not be all right.

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