I’ve been coming home a lot lately
I’ve come home a lot lately. First I suppose was when I landed in America again, three months gone by, and saw the smile of a friend as he picked me up from San Jose’s embarrassingly unconnected airport. The shuttle to the light-rail to the bus to the train to the other bus…wouldn’t have worked. They would have closed before I got there, and after 31 straight hours of travel time I didn’t need that.
What I did need was my friend. And he was there. And I was home, the second he showed up.
And I got back to my apartment, which was nice. Clean laundry all the time!, predictable food, knowing where I would sleep and being able to choose when to do so. A functioning toilet. All good stuff. But running into my neighbors in the hallway, that’s when the phrase “welcome home” seemed to fit best.
I visited my folks in Monterey, a town where I’ve never lived, a house I’ve only visited, but the home of my loved ones was immediately a home for me too, as I curled up to sleep on the couch.
And even further, a house I’d never even seen before, newly purchased by friends, where I spent the weekend house/dog sitting with my old galpal Lucy. And to my surprise, or maybe not, even an unknown building can hold some aura of home when you know it’s beginning to shelter members of your community, where they’ll add memories and time together to the walls and floorboards.
Definitely not mine, but definitely not a hotel. No impersonal transactions. This, all of these, were places that contacted the individual in me in some way.
And now I’m back in my apartment, not long until I go again. And though I know the physical things around me, the photos and maps and furniture, are not my definition, not the limits of me, they are the manifestations of my living, and every one of them wears memories that make this place mean more than just shelter.
And they share that, or some shade of it, with a constellation of other spots scattered around.
What a profound blessing to have so many homes. I remember when the closest I came was the borrowed bed for the night, and though I loved that too, when I come back here after another month of work, I will be coming home. And I’m grateful for that.