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This was the first house I owned in Berkeley way back in 2002. This weekend, I was “casing the joint”. Neighbors would have been suspicious of my slow drive-by, my parked car with the engine on and the lights off, and my searching stare up toward the second floor. I’m searching. Searching for some remnant of myself, some emotion that might light up in me to connect me back to the Lisa that lived there before. I’m looking for her to peek out of the window and wave to me, perhaps on the night I was assembling an Ikea bookcase? But nothing, just a vague familiarity and a tinge of emptiness.

Why does revisiting places I once lived bring a little bit of sadness? I look for ghosts of me on the streets. That was the coffee shop I played Arkanoid in before teaching my 8th graders. That was the place my allergy to wine began. That was the intersection where I pushed a boyfriend in a state of jealousy. So many “that-was-the-places”. But it presents only as facts. I cannot inhabit the body of that girl. My cells have turned over too much. The newer experiences have rubbed away some of the old and new people are making memories there. The past feels so disposable and makes me question where the present will be one day…


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