| worry (feminine noun) | /ɛ̃kjetyd/
I cannot sleep.
For the past few days, I have stayed with my boyfriend in Charlotte, North Carolina. He and his roommate have very little furniture, so I wrap myself in a blanket, sit on the floor, and read by the glare of a bare light bulb (no lampshade). My dog, Rousseau, rests beside me. Occasionally, he groans and rubs his snout against the carpet.
Without a routine, I feel weightless. While everyone around me is confined to their quotidian tasks, I am free. I feel as if I exist within a vacuum. I never know the date or the day of the week (why should I?). Consequently, time has crept up on me. I leave for France in 11 days. When I realize this, I cannot breathe.
The day of my departure looms before me. This is how it will unravel: I will be alone. I will board a 10-hour flight from Charlotte to Paris. When I get off the plane, I will be jet-lagged and delirious, but my adrenaline will carry be through the next few hours. My brain will spark and fizzle as I decrypt the French conversations and signs. I will have my passport stamped by a wary Frenchman who eyes my visas with interest: An American who doesn’t hate us? And I will haul my luggage to the train station in Terminal 2. There, I will spend a few centimes on an espresso from the vending machine. Maybe I’ll splurge on a Kinder bar as well. I will board my train to Bordeaux, and the fringes of fatigue will threaten my sanity. I might sleep, but I’d rather watch the urbane landscapes of Paris fade to the golden countrysides of South-West France. I love trains. I’ll clutch my book, probably something quintessentially American to ward off homesickness. Four hours later, I’ll arrive at the Bordeaux Saint-Jean train station, and I’ll take a cab to my AirBnB host. Once there, I’ll nervously make my acquaintances, and then maybe I’ll have dinner and a glass of wine. I will call home, and the sound of my father’s voice will probably make me cry. I’ll collapse in bed.
I am scared and thrilled and anxious and happy, and I cannot sleep.