The carry-on is packed with care, each item of clothing smoothed and rolled, although on the way home, everything clean or dirty will be stuffed in haphazardly. The backpack and purse are cleaned out and re-ordered with the minimal amount of survival items: Excedrin, cold medicine (if needed), apples, almonds, a few unread magazines and a novel, and lots of colored pen. The hand-outs are copied and remembered, and extra stars for remembering to bring a light jacket, umbrella and enough socks.
The night before the big trip is part of the trip itself. I felt giddy all afternoon as I planned trip-related things, which were many and mainly required vast amounts of time on the New Jersey Transit website squinting at timetables. Of course the plan is never the real route, but it’s a lovely fantasy of how that route might unfold in cars, planes, trains above and below ground, and one shuttle van. Lots of walking while carrying and pulling my identity and clothes are also in my future.
Now that I’m in the in-between space — home one one end, destination on the other — all is quiet and luminous. The dog barks, the cat meows, and the bath calls my name as well as a wicked-early flight tomorrow. But this feeling, this bright and radiating NOW between worlds, is one of life’s balms, a little like that feeling once the whole house is clean, the food is ready, and the guests have yet to arrive. Travel on, my wayward life.