On Not Knowing Where Home Is
I guess you finally know you’re growing up when you start feeling homesick for a place that isn’t where your family resides. Because, somehow, the place you grew up stops being the only place you love wholeheartedly. Because this new place, with its dingy lighting and intrusive neighbors is now also your home. Your heart is torn into two pieces and you feel homesick so often, it doesn’t register most of the time.
Maybe when your heart tore, it ended up splitting into two uneven pieces.
Because you’ve spent months and weeks and days at your new home (though you never dared to call it that) and only felt small twinges of homesickness. And now you’ve spent precisely four days at your old home but you’ve never felt this…well, upset since the first week of your freshman year of college (which was the first time you moved away). Somewhere along the way, among the drunken confessions on suede couches and gnat infestations in the kitchen, among the make out sessions on that squeaky twin-sized bed and the panic attacks on the ugly armchair in the corner, you began to think of that new place as your new place.
Your family isn’t just your mom and dad and little brother. It’s also your crazy roommates and your stupid neighbors and your incorrigible friends (which, coincidentally, give the best advice even after countless tequila shots). Home isn’t defined by the Dallas skyline anymore. It’s now also Kyle Field and the water tower and that stupid fountain in front of your apartment complex that only works half of the time.
You miss reading pretentious novels on your balcony when it rains.
You miss cult classic movie nights.
You miss the dance parties and the inappropriate jokes and the eye rolls.
You miss how the coffee table cuts into your calves if you’re not careful.
You even miss studying for exams on the excuse your landlord jokingly calls a bar stool.
And now you’re “home” for the summer and nothing has ever felt so wrong. Just the other day you were talking with one of your friends when you mentioned you had left your favorite shirt “back home”. She gave you a strange look and you were slightly taken aback by what had slipped out.
But you know the second you go back to your new home, you’ll start missing your old one. Maybe it won’t be that obvious at first because you’ll be too busy to really notice. It’s during one of those slow moments, when the AC is broken and you’re lying in your swimsuit on the living room floor, that you’ll finally feel that dull ache for your old home and it will break you.
Maybe it’s just time to accept defeat and realize you’ll spend your whole life missing someplace or someone or something. Maybe that’s just life and it goes on, so you will, too. And it’s only going to get worse because you have two years left until you move to a new school in a new city and four years after that until another move and you’ll only be 25 at this point, so there will be dozens of more moves.
Home is where your heart is, right? But your heart is in your new home and your old home and those homes you haven’t gotten to yet.
And that thought just breaks you.