“Right after I landed, I could feel the weight of my lips and tongue, and I had to change how I was talking. I hadn’t realized that I’d learned to talk with a weightless tongue.” –Astronaut Chris Hadfield
I haven’t written since January. I’ve spent my time, instead, on family missions. I’ve been sleeping in hotels and guest bedrooms, living for weeks in exactly two pairs of jeans, six t-shirts, one bra (I wasn’t thinking), bedroom slippers passing for shoes, and a big blue cardigan/invisibility cloak. I built makeshift nests in airports, nursing homes, hospital rooms; and feathered them with cell phone, laptop, kindle, extension cord, chargers, journal, kleenex, water, coffee, nonfat yogurt, pretzels with hummus, wint-o-green lifesavers, bubblegum. I came to know the most comfortable chairs, the quietest alcoves, the most convenient electrical outlets, the closest bathrooms. (I also learned to hold out between bathroom visits, because they entailed the complete disassembly of my nests, every time. Even as it was, five or six times every day I found myself rewinding my extension cord, re-stowing my cell phone, laptop, kindle, etc., into my Mary Poppins carpetbag and hauling it with me thither and yon. For otherwise, who knew? My whole life might get hauled away by mistake.)
I’m back now, pulled home again by love and gravity. Like Chris Hadfield (who was the first Canadian in outer space, I’ll have you know), I feel a sudden new weight in my lips and tongue. I hope you’ll forgive me, for a while, as I re-learn to talk.