I know the signs. I understand the messages each little soft white or red cell of blood carries to all my organs, how my heart types each note up and drops them in the curve of the cell’s dimpled middle. Each cell delivers the information.

There aren’t a lot of nerves sending my brain messages in regards to the sense of touch and feel from the slippery hot organs. But my mouth, on the outside, has gotten the message, and bares the news to the world. Like two tiny, silver fishing weights on either corner of my lips, I can’t pull them up so easily. My stomach, for once, doesn’t want food; someone has lassoed my lungs.

I know this feeling. I know what’s going on. Today I picked a fight with Steven. We had unfinished business and I didn’t really give a shit about being nice in pursuit of a resolution. I was aggressive. But even after everything was said and done and we’d said I’m sorry and I forgive you and everything was behind us, my face crumpled into itself and I rolled into a ball and started sobbing. My brain was so confused. Why was I crying? Steven asked me this, too, and he hugged me, and I just said, “I don’t know.”

I cried for a long time, and I recognized aloud that I was unhappy. And then I said that I didn’t want to return to America. I don’t fit in there anymore. Like Frodo in the Shire after his great adventure, nothing is ever the same and he can’t remain. I know this is my fate. I’ll go back and some things will be great. But most things, the most important parts of me, are not the same, and I won’t fit in anymore. Not well; not happily.

I know exactly why this is all happening now. After 9/11/01, I missed a week of school due to devastation. Steven worries about my role in future employment, since I often seek out social work/non-profit opportunities that bring me the worst of the world and ask me to help. I carry all the weight around with me, sometimes struggling to be happy when all I can think about are all the sad things happening in the world.

And sometimes the sad things just slap you, but even worse is the punch to the gut when you realize that the world isn’t the way you thought it was. That people hate me for my citizenship, or that, all along, we had to have seen this coming because nothing had changed after all the other times. That children had to die for people, myself included, to finally wake up. And that even now, it will still be a fight.

On Saturday I got drunk and on Sunday I had a hangover. On Monday it was a headache, on Tuesday it was a stomachache, and on Wednesday, finally, heartache.