[TW: Feelings, emotions, non-ironic expressions of care for other human beings]
Australia! I am leaving. Our flight is tomorrow afternoon.
I could not have dreamed that any of this would have happened. It’s only been eighteen months – sometimes it feels like years, like I’ve been here forever. Sometimes it feels like I stepped off the plane a fortnight ago. I’ve not made as many friends as I could, even, but I’ve been blessed with more than I can count. To those of you I was a little distant around; I’m sorry.
Such a life I’ve led. So many games; so many friends. At the end of the day, that’s all that matters, and I’ve had an embarrassment of both in my time here. We have sundered empires together, fought Death and found him wanting, saved the world a dozen times and destroyed it at least half a dozen more, sailed ‘cross starless seas, sung the night closed, hidden behind masks for all to see, danced to strange music that only we could hear. We have marked cities in ways that will never be undone. We have spun worlds together; I would never have made them without you. This country has been good to me.
I can’t say what I want to say; I am too close to all this, too messy. I am staggering clear of this country, my ears ringing from the blast. I fear I won’t ever be able to speak candidly, properly; I am not an honest creature, more fool me, so I will build the walls back up around myself that Sydney has so expertly worn away, reduced to dust. I cannot stay connected to this country so strongly, because if I weren’t to sever this, it would rip me apart. (It is, ah ha, ripping me apart.) So; instead of saying what I need to say, what I want to say, I will stand on the Eastern seaboard and push messages into bottles and hurl them, overarm, into the sea, and they will bob up and perhaps you will find them; an echo here, a nod there.
I am, I think, ready to leave. I have said my goodbyes. There is an odd stage in leaving a city where you go to buy milk, and you check the best before date, and it is well after you leave. That stage was Thursday. Our milk will outlast us. Merry Christmas, milk.
At first when I left London, I stuck to it, clung to it, wreathed it in imaginary smoke, dressed it up in my mind. I chased the lights of that city long after I left the shores. I don’t, I think, intend to make the same mistake again. This will hurt, but I can’t afford to let it destroy me; I have to push this place away from being Home and into something that I would look forward to, in a year’s time, when it is time to visit again. Part of the deal we signed when the world discovered Mary’s absurd talent is that we can’t ever go Home and live there; that place doesn’t exist, any more. We have no magnetic north. We are unmoored, pulled in all directions. Maybe some day this will be Home, again, or maybe not.
(I sound callous, I fear. Right now I have to pretend that my heart is not about to beat itself to paste against my ribcage, and maybe some day soon my heart will get that memo and stop doing it.)
Now, listen – no weeping, no gnashing of teeth, no black veils and sombre stares! We are not dying, and neither are you, I must remind myself, over and over. You have marked me; and I, I know, have left marks on you too. We have shared such wonderful times together; quiet, loud, public, private, dark and brilliant bright. We have smiled. Remember the smiles? Remember the smiles. That’s how you know it was good.
(I sound ridiculous. I am sorry; I am doing everything I can.)
This place has carved itself into my bones, changed me in ways I never thought possible. We will carry on being as Great and Powerful as we can, and I expect the same of you. I want to see the outline of you across the skies. I want to feel your footsteps shaking the ground as you walk. I want to see your fire burning across the horizon.
God speed, Australia. I will be back, different, but I promise I will not forget you.