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Amber Paulen

Back to Formello

This house is a tomb. Into its sepulchral bellows I may become embalmed, if I am not careful. It is not only a little confusing and startling to find that I am here again, in Formello. Always I arrive and finish here, a house that is no home. Against my will my shame flaunts, all too apparent, I don’t want to be here. I am not welcome here.

And it’s not like I ever have been. Not like I was expecting to be. Though I know how being here hits me, I wasn’t prepared. It is a shock after free-travelling to find it all the same and my reaction the same and every word the same, as if somewhere in there, between the going and the coming, I have failed. Again. I have failed to disengage this entrapment; I have failed to skirt it; I have failed to ward off this agitation. Countless times I have found myself here and countless time I have drowned with more of the same.

You see, when I am here in Formello, I must contain myself. I must wrap myself up in pretty packages like everything else in this perfectly surfaced house. I must smile, I must pretend that I am clean, I must not cook, I must not want too loudly, to wish my own thoughts on anyone, I must be silenced, I must tiptoe through corridors and wipe up water when it splashes, I must ensure that whatever I do has no effect and therefore I must not do anything. There have been worse times than this time here in Formello, times I will not write about yet.

The problem right now has arisen from strong feelings after a long journey, for some space, for some area I can write as my own, privacy. Spring is beautiful outside the window but today I can not enjoy it. All I want to do is make my own coffee, make my own lunch, wash my dirty clothes. I know what I have to do—besides finding an apartment as urgently as possible—is to burrow myself down into my words, into my writing, into reading, I think I’ll again take up smoking.

This is me, gritting my teeth and baring it. Thailand, where are you now?


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