The last time I was here my hair was long and my nails were always chipped. I was single, contained, free, confused, and found all at the same time. When these wheels touched down the runway, my chest feels heavy looking out the small window at the gray skies and dead trees. I find myself wishing I was home, realizing that my perception of home has changed.
This is how it feels when you come back to your home town.
When you get off the plane, you almost forget that you are no longer a thousand miles away. You notice a man in a Red Wings shirt, and think, “No way! He loves Detroit too!” before you remember you are back in metro Detroit yourself. You ignore him and the hundreds of others you suddenly notice sporting their home pride. When you step outside that old familiar Mid-Western air hits you hard. This is nothing like the Gulf air.
Your mom picks you up in a new car you have never seen before. You have to ask her what radio station is what. She begins to drive the twenty minutes to your town. The town where you grew up, where you went to school, where you took your driver’s test, where you rode your first bike. But why is it that it seems so far away from who you are now?
You drive past your neighborhood. She moved.
You pull in front of a condo you have never seen before.
The feeling is similar to watching a movie over again. You know what happens next, you know the names and the outline, but for some reason you are still looking. The roads you drive down all look the same, but are they? Has that building always been there? Was that house always that color? When did they close that place down?
If this is supposed to be your home, why is it so unfamiliar to you?
You find yourself missing your bed and your friends. When you wake up, you want to call your boyfriend but realize he is in another time zone, still sound asleep. Then there you are, struggling to find comfort in your own mother’s house. The feeling is confusing and impossible to really explain. You do not know where the forks are, where the bathroom is, what the speed limit is on the highway. All the things you are supposed to know about your home.
Then you realize. This is no longer your home. Your home has changed and for a minute you feel out of place and alone. But that is why this place was never truly your home, why you had to find and create your own home, because you know you never really belonged here. The black sheep of your suburban landscape, filled with oversized homes and quiet upper middle class day to day people. You were never home here.
A few days later you are back in your apartment and nothing has changed. It was as if you just watched a movie you have seen a hundred times before.