when I was very young,

I used to lay awake

and watch the cracks on my ceiling,

trying to puzzle out what it must feel like

to step off a plane and onto foreign soil for the first time.

I imagined that, upon landing, a traveler would instantly recognize a change

within himself,

some deeply mysterious stirring in his soul,

and he would know he wasn’t in Kansas anymore—

but really,

nothing is ever the way you dreamed it

when you were eight,

harsh as that reality is.