equally skilled.

i stand over my suitcase, looking down at books, gifts, tightly rolled clothes. i try to save space where i can, and keep with em the knowledge that i can cram things together better than it would at first seem. the space fills up fast. other times i randomly throw knick-knacks into the big pocket on the inside, hoping i haven’t created a problem for me later when i try to seal close this blue behemoth.

the process of packing brings me through the last three months of collected items and memories stashed and scattered, loose and in piles, of nothings and somethings. useless metro passes, scraps of wood, things i haven’t worn in over a month, an email address on a bits of paper of a good friend . i pause for a moment, paper in hand, run the letters and numbers in my head. i grab the computer and send an email, making sure that the name will be in the system. i slide the paper into the front pouch of my ukulele case, long known for collecting assorted pieces of paper and oddities.

i walk into another room to gather more things, notice the small pack of gum given me by mohammad last night at the train station. he is too kind. he has recently offered me things, well, straight up given me things, and will not take no for an answer. he gave me his bread last night, too, assuring me that he eats too much as it is. i think about last night, he and i talking for a long while. i was enthralled when he was talking about his love of his religion, and i was awed again as he talked about Jesus. he has been reading the gospels in arabic, and here he is, telling me about the wonderful things Jesus said. of turning the other cheek and doing good for your enemies. you know that part where Jesus tells the guy that he is not far from the kingdom of God? that line kept running through my head when mohammad was telling me how much he loved reading our scriptures.

we joined tim and lindsey who are receiving a guided tour of romania from a man we know with lots of books full of pictures. he smiles, points out every picture on every page, chatters in italian excitedly. he loves his homeland. i caught a fair amount of what he says.

i listen to a playlist filled with song of peace. i take breaks to play some ukulele. i pack some more. i went out in the morning time to try and find a guitar from paul, but the places i went were closed for inventory. i will have to try again tomorrow morning before going out to his place. early start to the day i guess. i tried looking for another place, took a wrong turn, found myself face to face with a man from romania i had met before. i had given him money before. he wanted to go back to be with his kid. had to buy food before he could buy a ticket. but he wants a ticket. so i figured i would test how legit this guy’s desire is. we ride the metro to the train station and i buy him a ticket to romania. he is set to leave about the same time i will.

i take a walk with peter to a nearby park; it is good to spend some solid time with him. i am glad we live in  the same state.

this is the time for goodbyes o a grand scale. it starts. at the train station i eat with ali we wait for our iraqi friend who i have not seen since before we left for the mountains. he hugs me with a great strength. he says he has nothing in europe and has booked a flight. he is going back to the middle east to see his family again. but i will miss him. ali as well was not too keen on his being away for extended months. breaking of the fellowship. what do i say to someone as they leave? i couldn’t say thank you for being my friend enough.

and so my suitcase sits, almost bursting, with just enough room left for the few things to pack last minute, as i will still use them up until that last zipper closing. it is past midnight. i leave tomorrow.

sometimes when times are strange, i like to think of a song which starts with how rough things are and ends with how good He is.


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