Home will not disappear in the night on you. Attend to the task at hand lest the bear eat you.—J Fitz 1990
I returned home where I had not been for twenty five years a few days ago.
It is a strange thing to come back to a place so pregnant with memories where half my life unfurled. So much is familiar yet so much has changed. Somehow in a life lived, daily happenings are forgotten except in excerpts, and long forgotten events come back when I explore a certain section of town or find a house where someone I knew or was related to used to live in and now strange people I do not know live there. There is a certain familiar strangeness, an ostracization that is inherent when I touch the familiar, but it is no longer linked to me in any way. Here I was . I left no mark. Yet I was here, and I am no more; these people live here and they did not know what lives unfolded here. Lives that are only ghosts now. I feel so left behind. Bereft. I missed so much. I lived so much. The tension is palpable. Should I have stayed and lived a quiet insular life here and lived through the changes, or did I do right to have traded the safety of home for how I lived as a creature of the world?
It’s too late now. I made my choice and I went out in the world, lived, travelled, had my children, and saw and experienced, and here I am.
I did not expect fanfare, nor many familiar faces and indeed, that’s what I got. There are a few familiar people to make the transition easier and for that I am grateful. I am grateful for them.
A friend once told me when I was homesick and had been in college away that home would not disappear in the night. He was right in a way–geographically it is still here; yet on a deeper level, it did disappear. I am not sorry to have lived past the unhappiness of much of it, but I am sorry to have lived a life and to come to it later in life with the feeling that life has slipped through my fingers as so much water because I still think I am young and that life is ahead of me.
They are knocking down my school and soon that fixture in my life will be gone as it will be gone for a lot of people who went there. I walked around and around and remembered how safe I felt there, how secure, when I did not feel safe or secure at home. I remembered the rooms of teachers who no longer work there, wonderful teachers the current students will never know; I remember rooms that no longer exist and it is familiar yet different, as if life moved on while I stood still in it not understanding when my life became the past and I look ahead now into the edge of the abyss of an uncertain future.
Home did slip away. My friend is now dead, my relatives on one side disappeared, no familiar faces in town. Only the boats remain, and a whisper of the town I once knew. Buildings are gone and replaced. My entire school life is gone with the buildings that once housed me; my elementary school is lofts now , my middle school and high school are gone and I feel as if I have been in some way erased and thus forced forward.
Change is constant and necessary. I am not a fool. Sometimes I feel so old and life so fast, speeding past me, while I struggle to catch my breath.
Constructing s life from scratch is the task at hand now. I have people to meet, a home to create, a new normal to become accustomed to.
I have a piece of brick from my high school which will not be there anymore after the summer has passed. It is a piece of me I think. A relic. My beginning. I am the product of the sum of my life up to now. The past is severed so cleanly I wonder if it is by accident or design. I haven’t got the slightest idea what I’m doing. I only have a dream I am manifesting. I hope a dream is enough.
I will color my hair and begin again.
I am glad to be home at last.