Suddenly, it was time to leave.
After five months of living in Dublin, my visa was up. Ahead of me was a two month journey to Seattle to renew my visa. Behind me were smiles and hard work and deep, full breaths of life.
I packed up the few things I had and put the essentials into the one suitcase I’d be carrying with me. The rest would be stowed in a closet at work. With that, phase one of my Dublin experience was over.
It was a strange goodbye. I didn’t have much time to think about it given the madness of the World Cup summer. That and I wasn’t really “leaving;” I’d be back in weeks. There was still something “book-closing” about it. Ireland saved me. This grey island showed me light when I felt engulfed in darkness. I’ll forever be grateful for that.
Travels were easy. I passed through the airport gift shops and suddenly realized I hadn’t even thought of a present for Mom and Dad. Again, it didn’t really feel like a goodbye. I wasn’t ready to leave. It was simply a see you later.
When going through customs, the officer asked me “Where is your home?” I stammered. Stammering with customs officials will never lead to good things. “Houston” fell over my lips. Houston. I hadn’t lived there in 15 years. It was on all of my documents though. Such a difficult answer for such a simple question.
With that, I was back in Texas.
I started to sweat. I don’t remember if I ever stopped. Moving was the task at hand. A subletter had taken over my lease while I was in Dublin. Now the lease had ended and it was time to do something with all my stuff. I didn’t really want much of it, but I also didn’t have time to pick out the things that were “valuable.” Most was simply put in boxes and transferred to my parents place. I’ll do the picking-over later.
While in Austin, I managed to see the people who were important to me. True, I didn’t get along well with the city. There are some very special people living there though.
I also made a visit to the Dog & Duck only to find out that it would soon be closing. For my money, it’s the best bar in the world. The jukebox, the waitstaff, the conversations. Conversations about everything. Good ones, y’know? That place was my peak when things were good and my sanctuary when things weren’t.
The truck was packed and it was time to go. As I drove out of town, I didn’t really feel anything. I wasn’t “sentimental” or “sad” or “angry” or “happy.” Everything simply was. As I passed by the Capitol, lyrics from Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright” started running through my head.
I’m walkin’ down that long, lonesome road,
Where I’m bound, I can’t tell
But goodbye’s too good a word,
So I’ll just say fare thee well
I ain’t sayin’ you treated me unkind
You could have done better but I don’t mind
You just kinda wasted my precious time
But don’t think twice, it’s all right