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Leaving

Back in 2013, I came up with a short film idea with a filmmaker friend from NYC. The focus was to be on the many leaving parties I kept having in Brooklyn. So I wrote a story. He was going to do the film. Then life got in the way and the project never came to life.

Fast-forward: While launching a new publication in Zagreb, I got wind of a young artist named Klarxy and fell in love with her work. Her travel-inspired drawings really spoke to me. I knew I wanted a piece by Klarxy. When I reached out, she asked me to send her a story. What I sent was the piece I wrote for that short film that never materialized.

In response, Klarxy came up with this. And I am in love. This suitcase is currently traveling by mail from the UK, where Klarxy is studying, to Croatia. As I wait for the suitcase, thought I’d share the story and Klarxy’s suitcase.

LEAVING

The first time you leave, you have no plan or trajectory. No belonging. You don’t look back. Like turning away from an impossible love.

Then you wander. On six continents. For twenty years.

You take off with such ease that saying goodbye becomes but a gentle breeze.

You leave parents, friends, lovers, soul mates… Easily. A lot.

There’s no sense to your departures. You just keep on leaving.

Then you put down roots. You choose one of the world’s most transient cities. Where everyone is just passing through.

But the world keeps calling and you keep leaving.

Suddenly you’re gone more than present. Leaving turns habit.

Your goodbye parties become a regular thing. At the last one, a friend says: ” I just realized I met you here at the loft at your leaving party a couple of years ago.”

Comings and goings become countless. You make it a custom to pass through customs.

The runways of JFK feel like the worn-out sofa bed of your Brooklyn living room.

And then you get a call. One of those that come from a quiet little place inside.

From the window of your rented apartment, back in the city where it all started, you see the hospital where you were born and another, up the hill, where your father took his last breath.

That view gets you thinking: The world is split into two kinds of people – those who leave their place of birth, by necessity and need or by restless spirit, and those who stay.

There’s beauty in both – strength in staying, sticking through it all – war, peace, famine, bounty, losses and loves failed.

There’s strength in picking up and leaving – no looks back, carefully administered emotional anesthesia allowing you to shed no tears…

But what when your biggest talent, your mark on the world becomes – leaving yet again for some other place?

When departures become your forte, the fight becomes to stay.

Can you see yourself change if the world around you shifts shape as you move?

Faces and places fade out, as others came into view.

A montage of a life lived, where leaving is the drug, and the only thread through it all.

What if you simply stop leaving? Do you become someone else?

Who are you as you leave from place to place? Someone different every time?

Perhaps it’s only in stillness, when you pause all movement, that you can see the blueprint of your wanderlust.

Once you’ve seen the collage of all your leavings, suddenly it’s as if you’ve never left. Suddenly it’s as if you belong.

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