Vincent Van Gogh’s “Bedroom at Arles”
They say “You can’t go home again”, and I think they are right (well, whomever this proverbial “they” might be). However, I think you can reinvent what home can be defined as.
Whenever people are making small talk, the inevitable question arises, “Where are you from?” I always answer the same, “I am not really from anywhere. My family moved all over when I was a kid and I lived in 53 places and attended 15 different schools before I was 15. I lived in Arizona, Wyoming, New Mexico, Utah, and Nevada as a child.” Granted, it was probably more information than they were looking for; it was, essentially, small talk. Nevertheless, I would ignore the bored look on their faces and continue, “As an adult I have also lived in Washington, Texas, California, and Oregon, and then back to Texas.”
Having no idea why they would engage me further, most would ask me, “So, where do you consider ‘home’?”
Often I would pause before answering, “I guess that would be Reno, Nevada. I lived there longer than I lived anywhere else, and it was the last place I went to school.”
Returning “home” is not as one would imagine where you visit the familiar and are welcomed by family and friends and visit your childhood home.
The Biggest Little City in the World is entirely different from when I was a teenager here; the days of me cruising up and down Virginia Street in my beloved ’57 Chevy are over, I am no longer a teen with a classic car, and they have outlawed cruising entirely. Downtown looks old and depressing with locals dragging the sidewalks like zombies amongst the dilapidated and empty buildings; the economic downturn hit the area hard.
I have no friends from high school, having had few to begin with, and not keeping in touch with (or falling out with) the few I had. My family is mostly here, but is so dysfunctional I might as well be here alone.
There is no childhood home, as we rented a duplex for the few years I lived here with my family. Eventually, my parents bought a home they owned for 20 years or so, but we sold it to pay for my mother’s attorney when she killed my father.
Other than my evening of “emotional cutting”, I am reluctant to return to my regular haunts of years past; there are too many memories, good and bad. I have a tendency to get mired down in the pain, but if it is not in front of me constantly, I can suppress it and pretend it never existed.
Time to Reinvent
I have reconnected with a friend I worked with during my second “homecoming” (this is my third). We have reinvented a friendship that exists in the present; we are the only two involved and there is nobody from our past to stir up trouble and create a triangle wherein they create drama.
For the first time, I am living alone; granted, the apartment is not ideal. It is smaller than most hotel rooms I have ever stayed in, and the neighborhood is less than upscale. Very much less. Nevertheless, I am alone and I can write to my heart’s content; the goal of this exercise.
My days are filled with working out, going to Starbuck’s for an internet connection, interviewing people to write about, and learning about life by myself.
So, while you cannot go home again, I have decided to reinvent what home is to me… it is wherever I happen to be at the time. For now, it is here, at Starbuck’s on a lonely corner downtown.