Lisbon is chaotic, boring, overflown with sun. My legs, especially feet are sunburn, and sore from the plastic flip-flops. The longest, laziest vacations of my life are going through their third month.
I miss Leiden so dearly that I cry, and open the box of cosmetic jelly that I once bought in Haarlemerstraat, and sniff it to feel, at least for a brief moment, the luxury, the abundance, the cleanness of the Netherlands. There is practically no more jelly in it, just the smell of a better life. I miss reading books in Oriental studies, theological treaties, things deep and complex, stuffed with Arabic terms transcribed neatly, with lots of dots and diacritics.
I restored my relations with Poland, since the predictions for the country are a whole lot better than they were only a fortnight ago. There is an upward surge, and the things might take up a new turn as soon as the coming month. Yet another mirage?
In any case, as I restore those relations and make new projects, I feel an etching. I was elated with them only for a brief moment. But when I get down to the street, I feel confusion (in strict, psychiatric assertion of the term). I suppose it is an intuitive indication coming from the depths, telling me something is wrong, I've taken up the wrong turn, I've messed things up.
What I actually want to do is something else. To delete my Facebook contacts completely, make a blank page. To remove all the e-mails from my inbox. Except those few coming from Leiden and Oxford.
I feel restless like a migrating bird in a cage, when its time comes to fly south. I want to go home. Home standing for the world of those big universities where I belong. With different kind of people, different kind of social relationships, different kind of friends. Different kind of knowledge. Different kind of writing.
I remember from old times having read that the consummation of any success depends on whether or not the person in question is able to modify radically her social network; it is the condition of a true change. If the high achiever fails to do this, she will remain in her old context, working below her possibilities, bitter and frustrated. Which seems to be my case.
There is a chance that, after all those adventures, all that heroic effort at acquiring competence and scholarship, I might return to Warsaw, the city I hate, the city where I couldn't live, the city where I couldn't even breathe. For another ten years, like those at "Artes Liberales". And after those ten years, it would be game over for me. I would be old, frustrated, bitter, worn out, beyond repair.
There is that tale of Kafka, about a man standing in front of the Door of the Law. And the angel saying: it was open all the time. And now it is too late.
This is why my skin etches, and I feel confusion when I get down to those Lisbon streets, so familiar to me for 27 years.
Overall, this is a march against reality. I have a very nice stay in Paris in front of me, and a fancy plan to go to Bucharest later on. Everything is just hunky-dory. I have time to ask for new opportunities, including Oxford. It is feasible to return to Leiden, buy a house in Leiden, even if it would mean getting on slowly paying for it. Everything is feasible.
So what is my problem? Lacking faith in me? In my talent and competence? Lacking determination?
I shouldn't have left Leiden, in the first place. I should have remained there in December. I should have stuck my claws in that Batavian earth.
And now I cry: home, home, co bitterly homeless. But home is no more. There is no home in Poland any more, even if Trzaskowski wins.
There is only one direction to fly, as my inner compass indicates. The only home is the one to be.