lâcheté

| cowardice (feminine noun) | /lɑʃte/

People grin, tell me I’m so brave. What strength, what courage I possess to travel so freely, and so far, at such a young age. But they don’t know.

“Listen to me,” I confess. “I travel, because I’m running away.” The places I’ve inhabited have grown larger than I; they’ve developed personalities of their own, complete with habits and memory. Haven’t you seen the power these places hold over me? You’ve seen it bring me to my knees. The way the twilight dims those yellow bedroom walls, it makes me think of all the people whose shadows have treaded across these floors. I think of glasses of Pinot and drunken laughter, of kisses that taste of tobacco and wine, and I cringe. Warm spring nights blunted by the knowledge that it would never last. Indeed, even then, I knew that one day I would be alone, examining and reexamining these memories and their spiky details, attempting to crush them to dust in my palm. Do you see why I must leave? These places are so laden, and there is no room for me there.

And I can never return. The chasm between what once was and what now is devastates me.

But a new place is mine for the molding. It lacks a past, and thus, it lacks a poison. You see, I can employ a certain control in fabricating a new life in a new location…But there’s no greater sadness than realizing that your demons have followed you there.

In my darkest moments, I imagine myself in Switzerland in a cabin on the edge of a lake surrounded by ice-capped mountains. Maybe one day I’ll just disappear, not tell anyone where I’ve gone. I could easily board that train, passport in hand, but maybe in those final moments, I’d look back to scan the platform and consider what I’ve left behind.

About Gabriella

I'm a twenty-something insomniac with a caffeine addiction and chronic wanderlust. I recently graduated with my M.A. in French, and I've spent the past two years living and working as an English teacher in France. I now work as an English professor at a university in Lille, where my students are learning to never omit the Oxford comma.
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