11: Khallas [7 May 2013]

(Khallas translates literally to 'done', but is often used as the punctuation mark following a lengthy and somewhat troublesome discussion.)

I rarely sleep the night before I travel, especially if I know I'll be compensating for jet lag. It's been a growing habit of mine to accidentally cause the last 48 hours before a departure to be a tangled mess of logistics that border on catastrophe, yet still manage to pull things off at the end. On one hand, it's a distraction from the anxieties that come from idleness; on the other, it pushes me into a mental state that is just as volatile as it is productive.

The manic edge of sleep deprivation faded once I had a few sips of champagne; I was too distracted by taking my last photographs of Qatar peeling away under the plane to feel any last pangs of sadness for all that I was leaving behind. Once I had my senses about me again, I realized that I had these moments to start the process of returning to a world that, from my perspective, had been put on hold, even though I rationally knew that things just continued on without me.

It's hard for me to move on with so many lingering tasks; final comments not done, student emails not answered, reimbursements not cleared, film not developed. I missed opportunities to say goodbyes to some people I will never see again.

At the end of the day, it's easy to tabulate all the things left incomplete, because it's a tempting thought that if only all tasks could be crossed off the to-do list, that nagging feeling of having forgotten something might actually go away. It's a fallacy, though; stories might end, but existence is not a work of literature, and it is only a human need for closure that creates this constant demand to wrap things up, pen a report, and say khallas.

In a sense, I never want to rid myself of that feeling, because it means that there's always something peeking over the horizon, another waypoint to lock onto and plan for.

Thanks for sticking with my ramblings these past few months; I'll send an epilogue with more substance once I've finished crossing everything off my departure to-do list.

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