Monday, October 11, 2010

When you're 22 years old it can seem easy to dissolve your life, to reinvent yourself, to up and move away.

I had almost everything I owned in my suitcases, and it wasn't much—except for my books. I hadn't figured out how to bring them yet. Shipping to the end of the world gets expensive.

My books—all the books—waiting on their shelves.

I can sense Alex looking at me from across the aisle. My cheek feels a little red, and I pay closer attention to the wool between my fingers and the needles, careful not to drop stitches, .

Alex and I went out a couple of times this summer, hiking and coffee. Easy things. But nothing for the last couple weeks. I thought I must have bored him, but last night he kept hanging around the edge of my vision—and now here he is looking at me.

"You don't like the turning," he ventures.

"I'm a bad nomad." He already knows this. But I appreciate his efforts at conversation. I appreciate his smile, faded by the fakey airplane lighting, but still the brightest thing I've seen in hours.

I know it's my turn.

"What are you going to be doing this south?" My needles click and click. Didn't we talk about this before? I don't know what else to say.

Alex stretches out, hands behind his head.

"Anything I can—maybe a little guiding, maybe for birders, maybe try to get a guide job on one of the science teams, or I'll do some crabbing, or spend some time on Isla Grande with the sheep."

He grins.

"Mostly all of the above."

He is a good nomad, a wood carver, a sculptor up in Kirkenes—but a man of all trades on Navarino. I can feel my heartbeat picking up, and I don't want it to.

And why not?

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