Thinking & Feeling
So, after more than two years, the time has finally come – I’m going home.
Home being, to no home… well, not entirely true; to my parents home, actually – gratefully – but not really my home, not anymore, and it hasn’t been for some time.
That said, “home” will always be home.
But, what does home mean?
Sure, it’s where we live, however, when, where you live is transient, where is home – my home?
Is it where I was born – Los Angeles, far from my upbringing, in London’s periphery, or just that, where I was brought up?
Perhaps, it’s the walls in which laughter echoed, as a child; a sentimental space – a place, in memory.
Is it where a family resides?
Does home need to be familiar, or, is it as simple as where you lay your head?
Do you need to feel connected?
What if you lay your head on cardboard boxes, build a cardboard castle – sure you’re “homeless”, they may say, argument muted, but, there must be a moment those four walls become home, unless, home is defined by utilities – then, are you ever a washing machine or a toaster away from a proper home?
Maybe, it’s where mail gets sent? Imagine cosy dinners around a P.O. Box.
Aha! The age old saying; home is where the heart is. We’ve beat the game! Ba bum bum b…ut
…what if you’re an organ recipient and your heart has been sent to pathology..?
For five years, my partner and I have called many manner of places “home”. For longer, we’ve been separated from the family cell – in some aspects, not all, of course – having mutually shared our first home (an apartment) in the U.K, prior to starting our free footed journeys, beyond the bounds and bounty of imagination.
My old bedroom, in the family home – my parents home – is filled with boxes; boxes upon boxes, of “stuff”, which has utterly overrun it, piled high atop my bed, and everywhere else. The bed itself, floats as a cargo ship, transporting miscellaneous relics, keepsakes, crossing a sea of memories, they collide in waves of nostalgia, manifesting into an aura almost tangible, frozen in time, as icebergs bobbing, off the coast of my youth.
Bizarrely, surreally, despite my gleeful excitement to see my family, I can’t help harbour a feeling of displacement. My home, has become so far removed from any earth and brick, that I find in the parting of my van and I, I am lamenting fully its fast approaching drive into the sunset as a loss greater than its weight in steel, gain in virtual digits in a bank account, or, in the comfort of its shelter. I am mourning the farewell to the nomadic lifestyle it represents, at least for a time.
What am I going back to – really?
My home, is/has, and I suppose always will be, exactly where I am – where I’m meant to be. Except I’m not meant to be anywhere, am I? I was meant be in Canada right now, before the pandemic hit, so, turns out I was meant to travel Australia, a little longer. Are we honestly meant to be anywhere? I don’t think so. I don’t believe in fate. We just are. And I mean that.
Although, infinitely grateful to have a supportive family, who is able to accommodate for my partner and I – our lives, mine, and that of my parents, have moved on significantly from the parent/child conventions of yesteryear, as it does, and venturing back, will likely prove to be as much new territory, as it is old.
I feel somewhat like an invading army, overrunning the walls of their castle with our bags and ransacking voices, bellowing stories of conquest and expansion. I just hope the purity, in the heartache of our time apart, and the long awaited, imminent reunion, will mitigate any emboldened feelings of intrusion, prodded as spear tip in their sides.
In writing all this, I should probably acknowledge both parties, to the best of my knowledge, are indeed counting down the days with excitement. Writing for myself, I feel joyous and warm with expectation. Our planned stay is to be relatively brief, and transitionary, in its facilitation of our next step, yet, with the state of the world, its limiting options, you just never know how long “brief” is anymore. Through the rosy visions of sunbeam lambent toward the wildflowers, in the cling of open bottles of bubble and hop; there is a guilty distillation in my soul, in which I feel kneecapped of my independence. Kneecapped, with a double edged sword.
But, then again, hasn’t everyone forfeited in ways which make my turbulence seem borne of paper planes; fragile and crude?
I am burdened by the knowledge of my overwhelming privilege, to have spent this tumultuous time, in the sanctity of Australia, where I have been free to, if not wholly condoned in the scripture imposed by the higher powers that be, at least in practice; shake hands with strangers, scratch my nose without barriers, loiter in public without imposition, and tongue kiss traffic crossing buttons, at my discretion.
Australia has suffered in pockets, anyone who has lost a loved one can attest to that, but no where close to the degree of many of its closest neighbours in the East, or its political allies, in the West. It has, for all intents and purposes, at least in my experience, been a beacon of normality. I’m sure most will agree. Especially all the Hollywood stars, who have flocked here in droves. The U.K is the great unknown, where policy can change with socks.
I’m stepping out into the road before the crossing lights have gone green.
I’ll be riding a waves of emotion, back to the shores of white cliff – my family, my country, and my home.
© Darius the Mate
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