I took a flight from London to Dublin on Monday morning. I was surprised at how boarding the plane felt like I was coming home. There was a man behind me speaking to his wife about what time he’d be back, and how his trip to London was. His lilt was soft and the quality of his voice as familiar as if he were an uncle of mine. He was a stranger and I didn’t speak to him. But I found myself closing my eyes while waiting in line, and feeling not like a strange girl on a plane to foreign land alone, but part of someone else’s story and plans. Maybe I was his niece who was traveling with him for company, because I had friends in London and why shouldn’t we meet up at the airport and spend time with family. It didn’t matter what the story was. I felt safe.
When I arrived I knew where I was going. I’ve flown into Dublin once before, but it was more familiar than that. I walked straight through the airport to the atm. Took cash out, purchased bus ticket and headed straight to the local city bus. I knew which bus to get off. I knew which part of Angier’s street to get off at, and I knew exactly where the hostel and cafe I stayed at last year was located.
I explained that I wouldn’t be staying but could I use the internet there anyway? They obliged and I had coffee and checked email and headed to Stephen’s Green park on a route that may well have been my daily commute. I stopped at a Spar grocery store and bought stuff to make a sandwich in the park and rested there until about three, when I called one of the friend’s I’d be staying with. He wasn’t far and I arrived at close to the same time as him.
I performed that night in a bar filled with people who may well have been family or old friends I don’t remember meeting. I was too comfortable to be nervous. Too happy to be back to worry about forgetting any lines or toning down the performance. It went well.
I haven’t gone much out of Dublin since I’ve been here. Because I feel home in this house with three brothers and a tea kettle. Because I went to James Joyce’s apothecary and walked the streets at wee hours of morning. There is enough here. And more than enough, and the familiarity of it all is almost staggering.
Tomorrow is Saturday. Already? Already. But right now it’s Friday and I’ve made a pot of soup. It’s simmering on the stove and we are painting and drawing, and we are lounging on our bed, and we are sitting down to write a bit while it stews.
I am not sure why Ireland has roots in my body, but I am sure I will leave part of myself here when I go. And I will come back to find it. Again. And again.