Coming Home…Or Something Like It

Flickr / Caterina Appia
Flickr / Caterina Appia

It’s been a good day, I learned a lot and my head is full of information and I’m trying to process everything. My boss is great, super jumpy and really happy to see everyone. He hops and skips from desk to desk with a peculiar but all-knowing smile that’s meant to put people at ease but he’s my boss so I still feel a little anxious. My co workers are talking about their fantasy hockey team and it’s all pretty even paced. I did try to creep out my team with my stories about parallel universes and dream interpretation. We talked about it for an hour and I think I thoroughly spooked them out. It was a good hour.

Walking out, going through the doors though, always feels different. It’s stepping into my real life without the anxiety and long-term implications of escapism. No more computer screen numbing my brain or the sound of people entering and exiting. No more smells of peoples’ cigarette breaks and sushi lunches. Breathing in the fresh air and letting my eyes adjust to actual images instead of virtual ones. The emotions I’ve been keeping at bay for 9 hours release all at once and I am overwhelmed and have a hard time breathing. I love this feeling. My legs stretch out to finally embrace standing and walking as I make my way to the train station. It’s a 10 minute walk but I take the long way. I walk slow and let my mind out of it’s cage and into the universe. I’m free to listen to music, sometimes I hum or just take in the cars buzzing past me or look at the people who walk by, briefcases, umbrellas and other baggage from their days in hand. Sometimes I make up stories about what their lives might be like, other times I’m staring off into space, not concentrating on anything at all.

Going home and feeling safe was something I looked for a long time. I wasn’t sure if I could ever be in a place I did not want to escape from. I grew up not wanting stay in the house because it was empty. There were people in it but it felt like something I couldn’t be in for a long time, to really rest my head. We moved 3 times after leaving my dad and I still felt away, distant from everything. Walking home, going home, seems like something that I’ve been building inside and now it has manifested outside of me. A place that isn’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination or Pottery Barn catalogues. There’s not a lot of furniture except a soft bed that’s in my living room and a make shift tv stand made from the box my air mattress came in. I don’t have the heart to put my bed in my bedroom though, I start to feel way too removed from everything again. My kitchen is full of fruits and vegetables, chips and chocolate and a half full bottle of cheap wine that I save for end of the week treats. Incense floats around in my house and someone recently described it as walking into a Hindu temple. But I realized that it is, this place, my temple. It’s my sanctuary that is because I am spilled into every corner, crevice and vein in here. I am in these off coloured walls and the cracked ceiling. I am in my sink and my unmade bed. The tea kettle on my stove and the little towels I keep lying around and I’m the little Buddha statue I got from a Thai place somewhere.

So I come home and I don’t really have a perfect life. My relationship broken away my family, friends and entire support system is really far away. My dad isn’t here to laugh with and sometimes I still have nightmares about him when he was at the end of his life, laying in the hospital bed, frail and wasting away. I remember his smile years ago when he would see me walk down the stairs. He would stare in my face and tell me I was the most beautiful girl in the world and I spent my entire trying to believe it. I tried for years to believe that I belonged that I was beautiful and worth anything, his smile, a home.

So I step into my apartment. A place I found on Craigslist and turn on the lights, hang my keys and put my purse down. I light my incense and get into bed. I look outside my window and I have no idea if my dad is around me, to see me smile and hear me laugh at the parts I always laugh at in a movie I’ve seen a million times. But I hope he’s still smiling and as everyday goes by, I know I’m getting closer and closer to that girl he knew I could be. I am home. Finally. TC mark

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