“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
I leave people behind.

“Hey, I am leaving Dubai. But I’ll be back.” “Dude, I am leaving Lahore. See you when I’m back.” “Mate, I am taking a break from London. Be back in a bit.”

I was only nineteen days old when I first moved from one country to another. I remember my grandparents bidding farewell. Or perhaps I’m remembering the time after. I remember my best friend from school giving me the finger from across the departures terminal. Or the time after. Hard to say: I have left people behind every time.

I envy how easily people talk about ‘home.’ Belonging is a feeling I have simply never understood. I hate it when taxi drivers ask me where I’m from. It makes me think of all the places that I have been and all the people I have left behind.

Maybe I will miss your wedding or the arrival of your first-born. But I will wish I was there, and I will call to say congrats. And I will be there when that first-born leaves for college.

Maybe I will never put down roots, and I will never find ‘home.’ But I will be there when you need me most, and I will belong. And I will not leave you behind.


— Emad Nadim