This word: Alone.

Every resting stop after has been a conscious turning away from that first home. Every commitment is a rebuttal to my understanding of where life started and where it will end. You can bury, you can bow, you can dig the word away. It’s fine to avoid. It’s fine to be afraid. It’s fine to create seventy years of distractions. But it’s not fine to want it. It’s not fine to prefer it. It’s not fine to cut it out of the wall of your cave and carry it like a mezuzah, ready made for every home you enter thereafter.

Still, in every quiet moment I can feel the word creeping back into my ligaments, sticking my bones to their memories. In every failure to understand, every fracture against promises made, I ask the cave to let me return. In every step I take I feel the weight of the engraved word in my carved out stone. Sometimes, I dream the cave is growing around me.

Even the hieroglyph, even the word, even the attempt to discuss the cave is to admit that I am still wandering, that I’m not yet settled.

How is it that choosing home can feel like a betrayal? How is it that returning can feel like failure? How is it that comfort can taste like sin?

Older than the desert fathers, the desert mothers, the hermits and the holy seekers, is the understanding that you can find solace in a single word. ש

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