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Before I left Chile I did a bangup job of cleaning my apartment. No furniture unmoved, no surface undusted. As I was in the Centropuerto bus ($2 to the airport from Los Heroes metro sortof) I remembered two things that I hadn’t done that gave me pause. One of them was watering my cactus. I know, I know, cacti live for long periods without water. But it had been some six weeks, and since it’s the only plant that can survive my crazy here-not-here-here-again schedule, I’d wanted to show it a little love before taking off.

The other thing was the espresso maker. I had left a half a pot full of espresso in the kitchen, and I thought to myself, what a horrible mess that will be! There could be mold! The house could smell like coffee!

Or there could be a giant, house-flattening earthquake (not mine, luckily), and the door to my bedroom could fall off its hinges, and every book I own could be all over the floor and a bottle of sparkly nailpolish could commit suicide and glue a bunch of stuff to the floor, the side of the toilet etc, and there would be piles of broken glass and things that would make me ask the question “what is that?” or more appropriately “what was that?” And the kitchen could look like this:

la cocina

Which, all considered is not really a big deal, and some sweeping and tossing is all it will require, and I’m not that good of a housekeeper anyway.

Being back in Chile after a giant earthquake means that everyone has a story to tell. I think people (especially traumatized people) should tell their stories again and again. I don’t have much to say about my experience, so I won’t say much, but I hope everyone I see, old and new takes the time to tell me their story if it will help them to feel just a tiny bit better. Which, to clarify, is what I meant when I said I wished I could have been here. Not to experience it, not to feel the fear, but to listen to people who needed support and lend an ear, a shoulder or a hug.

Me? I need a new blender jug. No homemade frappucinos this week. No big deal.