It came back yesterday, adorned with a hastily-scribbled note and two stickers from the post services. We had sent it on December 22nd, 2017. You know, for the New Year and all that. It went from Lyon, France, to Calgary, Canada. And back.
When it reappeared in our letterbox yesterday, we felt sorry that our friend had not received our thoughts and good wishes after all. I contacted her on Messenger (yes, I see what you mean by "ironic"), with a pic of the envelop and asked for her current address.
I grabbed the envelop to try and fit the new address among the notes-and-stickers mess. And I drifted away.
For a few minutes, I wished I were that envelop. I wished I had made the trip from France to Alberta, and back, for nothing. I wished I had smelled the hot tar below the plane that brought me back. I wished I had heard the crunch of the postman's boots on ice and snow when they tried to deliver me. I wished I were back to two years ago, when I drove and slept in a Ford Explorer for 5 months and 13 000 miles during an improvised loop between Alaska and Mexico and along the Rocky Mountains line. I wished I, too, were dusty, with old dirt at the rims and in every crack.
I propped the battered envelop against my empty mug of coffee. It will wait. Let it sit there, just a while more. Let me look at its stickers for one more day.
There will be no driving this summer. There will be no plane to drop me in some airport where I'd grab coffee before retrieving a set of car keys. There will be no road, no campfire.
This summer, I'm pregnant. I'm the bearer of life, the stereotype of motherhood, the individual for whom people with heavy luggage and even walking sticks leave their seat in the subway. I'm adorned with carefully-scribbled medical reports. I am impeccably clean, and oiled at the rims to prevent cracks.
I'm a baloon that will not fly away, until delivery.
I'm tightly attached to a spot in the ground, and everyone seems satisfied with it. I am playing a part. I am there, slow and encompassed, as is expected.
Pregnancy is like any ancient ritual: for every new life created, another one must be claimed.
Kill the driver! The adventurer! The dirty tramp whose rims cracked in rhythm with the cycles of day and night, hot and cold, dirt road and boardwalk!
I am not mine. I am ours; a shared belly; something people seem to relate to; something collective.
The home is abuzz with the sound of new shelves being put up, of friends visiting, of ice cubes thrown in glasses of sparkling water, of Messenger notifications.
And meanwhile, the road is silent.
I am going to send back that envelop. Although it is happy for all its past travels, although it is grateful for its bulging belly full of long-awaited pieces of news and life, it must be delivered.
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