One of the books I read while traveling was Gabbya memoir co-authored by Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, Mark Kelly. They describe how difficult it is for her to regain speech after the shooting. It’s called aphasia, common in brain injured patients. Meanwhile, as Mark was taking care of Gabby night and day, he was also preparing to pilot the penultimate space shuttle mission, STS-134. I wonder how on earth he held all of that in his head…and at the same time, I know, because I’ve done things like that too.

I’m home now. Before I even unpacked, I started looking up rental cottages in San Ignacio. I’m going back to start a new novel set in the caves of Cayo. And to immerse myself in Spanish, of which, ideally, I’ll have already gotten the basics by then. (And to hang out with all the survival-trained, machete-wielding, bare-chested adventure guides….but I digress.) But before all that, I landed in Washington to spend a few days with my friend Christian; we went to the Air and Space Museum, where I watched footage of fighter jets landing on aircraft carriers, over and over. I knew how to fly once. I could learn again. Landing on an aircraft carrier didn’t even look that hard.

I’ve lived long enough that I’m beginning to remember all the things I’ve forgotten.

Aphasia strikes me as a useful way to think of learning a new language. That is, you already know the language, and you’re just recovering it. Quiero hablar…y escribir…y vivir…

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