My Dad and I Are Always in New Places So He Tells Me to Conduct Reconnaissance

Samaaya Jayamaha
BFA GD 2022

I have never driven drunk but I have certainly assumed the same risk while biking drunk in the rain. Amsterdam cobblestones are unforgiving, not unlike Providence bricks or limitless speeds on Colorado highways or rural Wisconsin roads after sunset. We take these routes and assume risk each time, just at varying degrees. You are here and you are understanding that everything is like that all of the time. We’re just more aware of it in some instances.

You are here, but my body is sprawling between these places, which are unfortunately dumbed down to pins in a styrofoam map on my aunt’s wall. In my head, however, they are linked in ways which are obvious to me even if the differences between American suburbs and Sri Lankan paddy fields are insurmountable. I am not in either of those places but I am here and the places are within me. Being here, it reminds me how much I love struggling to comprehend that these spaces exist on the same planet. And if I consider that, then imagine all the spaces between and beyond them, in all directions. You and I both cannot, and it is frighteningly wonderful.

You are here, while I find a blue peanut M&M that is just convincingly enough to be in the shape of a heart. I hold it between my two fingers and take a photo of it in the kitchen light. What you hope when entering a situation is that everyone’s and everything’s ascribed differences do not matter. But the only way to discover if this holds true is by enduring the situation, acknowledging. Can you perform? My dad is always saying that.

I am here, but I feel the pulling weight of great distances splitting. I first saw my hometown from a plane window and since then I have always wished to live everywhere. Endurance meets performance in some sort of intoxicating physicality which is distance. Distance lived, distance covered, and the means and methods of covering it. But somehow, someone is always reminding me and you, that we are here.

Image by the author.

Samaaya Jayamaha is running into the sun with her imaginary dog.