When I was small—maybe 7 or 8—I was fascinated by my abuelo’s story about when he came home from the war. I don’t remember his words, but I do remember the image in my head, which had nothing to do with war, but more to do with coming home after being away for a long, long time. I imagined him, a young man, walking with his pack, wearing those old boots he always had on and a white t-shirt, his shirt in his hand. I imagined his route from the plaza, past Our Lady of Guadalupe, across la loma to the house where my tío has lived since before I was born, where my great grandparents lived until they died. I remember asking him, “Did you run home because you were so excited?” He said no—he’d worked so hard, experienced injury and illness, so his body was tired. My child self didn’t understand.
This story has been on my mind a lot lately as I’ve been writing—or at least the idea of being so excited to reach something that running seems the only sensible thing to do. I dreamed a few weeks ago that I am standing in the center of the plaza with my abuelo. It is 1942—four years after my dissertation ends, and before the hippy takeover in Taos. My laptop feels heavy in my little backpack as I trot across the road toward the church and over to la loma. And I’m not running.
I keep wondering why I’m not typing as fast as I possibly can, to reach the pinche dissertation finish line that is an email attachment to the profes. If there is a crisis moment to be had, now is it. My feet are dragging, but I really want to run.