Monday, August 4, 2008

Shreds of Home


On the way home from the airport, we pass a street we normally would have taken, that leads to a house that now some creepy faceless people are living in. They are sleeping in the room I used to sneak boys into, swimming in the pool I used to jump from the roof into, cooking in the kitchen I used to fight tooth and nail not to have to clean, slamming doors I once defiantly slammed for effect. They check their mail from the box I got the my pen pal letters from, my college acceptance letters from. It's all very violating.

Then we arrive "home" to a massive, cold house where my parents now live, an unfamiliar place where I don't know where any of the light switches are. In the middle of the night, jet lagged, I essay the house for shreds of home (and to self-flagellate with my memories like I tend to do). There's that end table my mom got in the divorce, the family picture from 1989 where we were all wearing matching sweaters that is cheesy as hell, my mom's Women's Anatomy book that I learned about the female orgasm from, the lighthouse lamp that used to sit on top of the piano that was always lit when I came home way past my curfew. These little pieces of "home", all this shit from my childhood, is as if on display in a giant, overly air-conditioned museum. It's mildly nauseating.

Then I go outside at 4 a.m. and feel the rush of hot air, the smell of summer grass and orange groves, the dawn coming earlier than anywhere I've ever known. I see lightning from an electrical storm far off. People are already walking their dogs. And I remember the city, beyond the back wall, the only city I can ever call home, with its hot hair dryer breeze, its desolate, sad strip malls with all their convenient, solitary familiarity. And I think, "Oh yeah. Home." And it ties my stomach up in knots and reminds me of the vast, sad distance that normally separates me from this and the abyss of time that has passed since I've seen these shreds of home.



Rassles said...

That was just...neat.

Captain Steve said...

Don't you hate it when your parents move? And then there's so much you have to remember about where you're from and how everything looks awkward in the new house and it's just not right and you HATE it.

kate said...

Great post. WE moved from my "home" house when I was 13, and no other house in the US has really felt like home since then. Except maybe my father's house, which I spent vacations/every other weekend for a long time, and even lived there for a year after the Peace Corps. So that's pretty close, but not in the same way. Neither of my parents even live in that town anymore, which is a bummer, but it's close enough to where they live now that we take a day trip or two there every time we go back to the US.

miss hell said...

wow, this post really touched me and i don't mean in any perverted way (you freak!) but i really felt and understood what you were saying. that last sentence is absolutely beautiful makes me almost love them strip malls.

Anonymous said...

nice post