“OK, stop now.” Luckily, the song was over and something cheerier started playing in the background. Eventually, she went through immigrations and was now waiting for her luggage, a few pieces. You don’t carry years of life in just one piece of luggage, and that’s not even including the unseen baggage. No, but that’s a different story. Now, Julia was hoping that her three suitcases had safely landed. She’d figure out how to have the remaining boxes sent at a later time.
She was on the verge of tears. The tiredness and hunger compounded the anxiety. She was perspiring as if she had been cooking next to a fire for the last 10 hours. But no, “I’ll have time to process that later today, when I’m alone. People won’t understand.”
She took a deep breath, picked up the last suitcase (at least they arrived safely!) and headed to the exit. She kind of wished she had told more people she was coming back home. Everyone seemed so happy and eager to reunite with their families after being apart for who knows how long: maybe years, maybe days.
As she pretended like she just didn’t care, she couldn’t help but timidly look around, trying to catch a familiar face. She didn’t want to appear eager, though, and have people feel sorry for her afterwards. So she just feigned being someone else – a tourist, an expat, just doing what they do, arriving and trying to understand what’s what in a foreign land.
All of a sudden, she saw him. A smile that could light up a city. Teary eyes, slow movements and the evidence of many a snowy night – again that song – in her head. She should have known they’d be here. Julia hurried up and gave him the tightest hug she’d given anyone in recent years while repeating “Don’t cry, don’t cry” to herself.
“Jules! You made it!” he said excitedly. A few steps behind was mom, waiting to hug Julia as well. She wasn’t as effusive. She never had been. And Julia had learned to accept that. After all, she was like that too. She also sensed her mom was wary in her words. She could see through her and her disappointment about being back, which seemed to say, “I want to be happy that I’m with the people I love, but I’m not.”
How can you even explain that? Sometimes, things were better left unsaid.
The ride back home was pleasant. It was a warm autumn day, and the sun was timidly peeping from behind the clouds, which seem less dense now. Nothing is that terrible when the sun is out, Julia thought. Unfortunately, days like this are always followed by nights, and warm days are followed by long, gray ones, she continued pessimistically. She liked seeing the city; she hadn’t been there in quite some time and despite looking familiar, she sensed a new vibe. Going through the streets surrounded by platanus trees, seeing the usual small groups of people at the lights, offering to wash the windshields, gave her a quick flashback to her teenage years and she suddenly felt gloomy all over… There had been many reasons why she’d left, this being one of them. She’d have to go back to her old self, looking mean and distrustful. She did not like that. She did not like it one bit.
The conversation during the ride was superficial but nice. It’s not like they hadn’t talked in a long time. Current communications made it so easy that those long stories and anecdotes after being away for a while were no longer a thing, since you could share them with the people you wanted at the exact time you were experiencing them yourself. So they discussed the changes in the city, the weather, the legs of the trip and her mom’s favorite, the plane food. It had been quite bad, truth be told, but as long as it was edible, Jules was content.
After about 30 minutes they arrived at her parents’ new apartment. She’d seen it before, but she’d never lived there, so it didn’t feel quite like home. She would have the spare room for now… for who knows how long though. Hopefully, not too long.
“Now, presents!” Jules exclaimed, opening her suitcase in the middle of the living room, before her dad had even closed the door.
Jules dove into her suitcase and searched in between shoes, books, make-up and loose socks and dug out a bottle of wine for her dad, some sweets for her mom and a few other souvenirs. The presents were modest, given Julia’s unemployment, but nobody made any comments.
(…to be continued…)
Transadaptation Volume 4 – Material Dissent
January: A Blinding Light and Then, All Darkness – Jonay Quintero Hernández (Spain)
February: The Opportunist – Lauren Voaden (United Kingdom)
March: A Stranger in my City – Alejandra Baccino (Uruguay)
April: A South African Soundtrack – Sarah-Leah Pimentel (South Africa)
May: Full Circle – Ina Maria Vogel (Germany)
June: La Lluvia en Bogotá – Adriana Uribe (Columbia)
July: Freedom – Krisztina Janosi (Hungary)
August: A Bus Ride – Svetlana Molchanova (Russia)
September: Transcendence – Armine Asryan (Nane Sevunts) (Armenia)
October: Motherhood – Marilin Guerrero Casas (Cuba)
November: To be announced – (hopefully) Gennady Bondarenko (Ukraine)
December: Open – Seyit Ali Dastan (Turkey)
Background – Context
Transadaptation Volume 3: Evanescent – Young Adulthood Transadapted, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2022)
Transadaptation Volume 2: Conceived – Childhood Transadapted, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2021)
Transadaptation Volume 1: In the Middle – Prelude to a Contemporary Transadaptation, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2020)
Peripatetic Alterity: A Philosophical Treatise on the Spectrum of Being – Romantics and Pragmatists by Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2019)
La Syncrétion of Polarization and Extremes Transposée, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2019)
The Codex of Uncertainty Transposed, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2018)
L’anthologie of Global Instability Transpuesta, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2017)
From Wahnsinnig to the Loony Bin: German and Russian Stories Transposed to Modern-day America, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2013)
Emblems and stories on the international community
Perception by country – Transposing emblems, articles, short stories and reports from around the world
Cover photo: Montevideo, Uruguay – Corner store – Georgia Visacri (Unsplash)
Source: The Codex of Uncertainty Transposed