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safety is complicated

–can you remember a place where you felt safe?
–yes, but it’s complicated.
–try to stay away from complicated for now.

I stepped away from complicated but the scene wouldn’t fade: the open front deck of the ferry, my headspace and body still soft-edged from being flung across the globe; the dark blanket of a December night over the ocean beyond the city’s glow; the white noise of the engines and waves, the accelerated salt breeze at my face; the conversation with the jet-haired, biker-jacketed chain-smoking First Nations woman, strikingly beautiful and with a look of complete purpose, heading somewhere that wasn’t home but a place she needed to be.

My places of safety are not comfortable, not familiar, not swaddled: they are the in-between spaces where nothing is asked of me other than to recognise them and absorb them deeply, to keep them alive as long as my memory holds.