When you’ve been away, your timeline gets fuzzy. You can’t remember if the neighbors next to your grandparents cut down the tree in their front yard two years ago or ten years ago.
Once you conquer your surroundings, once you feel like you know every nook and cranny of what a town has to offer, there is a feeling of invincibility — even immortality.
Wrap yourself in a thin coat and walk to your new job. Let your hands freeze and your lips burn. You like to let the cold wake you up and remind you of where you are now.
My humble observation about living in the South, and I know somebody is going to try to correct me, is that people seem so afraid of sticking out that everybody blends in not because they want to, but because they have to — the hot breath of society makes people conform.
Consider me the human version of a potted orchid. An old, stern woman on an airplane once told me orchids are the most difficult flower to grow.
The swimming pool, before being remodeled with brickwork, was a simple cement hole in the ground. One summer, it became so overridden with frog eggs that we let them claim the territory as their own.
It is possible that I will become utterly and fabulously super famous in the future and you, being the kind of person who feels compelled to explore such places, will visit my childhood home.
Where is home? Are you the person you left behind, or the person you’re going back to? And if both those Yous should ever meet, will the two different sides of that equation equal who you are now? Or has one side won out?
I’m often posed the question of how frequently I “go back home.” I don’t go often. People ask if I miss it, if it’s hard for me, if I feel homesick, if I wish I could go home. I feel like a bad person when I say I don’t. Should I?
Those of us who live far from home experience a longing for it that you can only know if you’ve lived away for a real length of time. We romanticize where we’re from and talk about it with an appreciation we didn’t have for it when we lived there.