This morning as I was taking my finals, my mom texted me, “Good luck today. No milk at house.” First of all, I read it like Hemingway’s six word story (“For sale: baby shoes, never used.”) Second, it was kind of sweet that she was letting me know the milk situation in case I decided to go home for the weekend. My parents were actually out of town until Monday, but I went home anyway. So what’s the point of going home if no one’s there? I found two reasons:
1. I needed a change of scenery and some solitude. I would have enjoyed hanging out with my parents, but it’s also good having two less people to interact with. I’m much more productive alone. I didn’t get any writing done this week due to preparing for finals, and honestly, if I just stayed in my apartment this weekend, I probably wouldn’t have gotten any done out of sheer laziness. But the simple change in scenery is helping we work on a couple of blog posts and some fiction.
2. The second reason is that with summer term over, I felt the need to go home, as if the term weren’t really concluded until I left town. Like some pilgrimage, I had to return to my start, all T. S. Eliot style. That shouldn’t make sense if no one else is here though. Isn’t home supposed to really be the people, where the heart is, an abstract sentiment?
But part of home is the place, the actual house. And all the things inside it. It’s the road leading home that I can navigate blindfolded. It’s the balcony off my room I never utilized because I was afraid of heights, even though it has a great view of downtown. It’s the sound of the church bells from the Methodist church down the road. It’s the shelf in my room holding lots of mementos that were important to me in high school. It’s the stuffed animals under my bed, given to me by ex-boyfriends, that give me both good and not-good feelings, but I just can’t let go of yet. It’s the terra-cotta soldier standing guard over the TV cabinet, a reminder of how much my mom loved seeing the real terra-cotta soldiers in Xian. It’s the picture of dancing bears that I’ve never understood my dad’s fascination for. (In general, I’ve noticed men are more interested in it than women. There’s a psychological study in there somewhere.)
The house has a feel to it. It gives me a certain sense of belonging and comfort. I feel “home” there, even if I’m having a bad day, or if I’m there alone, or if we’re out of milk.