I think I must have invested a lot in a life as Phil in no small part because it gave me some respite from feelings that I’ve never really resolved.
The fact is, I miss England so much it hurts. I can ignore it for a while; when I thought I was Phil I ignored it for a very long time. But with sincere doubts that I was him now taking hold, I am left with that same painful longing to go back.
It really hit full force last night, when I stumbled on an episode of the BBC show “Escape to the Country.” They had an episodes in Shropshire and Somerset and by the end, I was in tears seeing these beautiful cottages and thinking of how it could have been if I’d stayed at home until I was too old to serve. I’m sure there was a need for leather workers, hop pickers, and farm hands and I probably could have made enough money doing civilian work to buy a cottage somewhere in the West Country.
I’ve waited more than ten years to get back to England after living there for a year and a half in my current life, always feeling a strange sense of deja vu that I never fully understood until years later; Now that I know why I wanted so bad to stay there, I’m starting to doubt I’ll ever have another chance to go back even to visit.
As for living there, it’s almost impossible now, as expensive as it is and as difficult as it is for a US citizen to get a leave-to-enter permit in the UK (you pretty much have to either get an employer willing to sponsor you, or you have to marry a British citizen and neither is really an option for me).
I’m seriously thinking of applying to Oxford and Cambridge, but I’m still torn about how I’d negotiate the move, how I’d bring my fiance with me, and how I’d pay for it all.
I didn’t need this. I should have kept telling myself I was the reincarnation of Philip K. Dick, that I was continuing my past life’s work, and that I belonged on the West Coast, even when I knew I couldn’t back that up. Without that, I’m just a homesick Brit.