Friday, August 6, 2010

My Secret Garden

"Home? I have no home."

While playing Uncle Archibald in the Shawnee Mission East High School production of The Secret Garden, I was required to utter this ridiculous line. It was always the line that I had difficultly spitting out, because it seemed so inane. How could you not have a home?

But over the past nine-and-a-half years since I took my bow on that stage, those words have come back to me at various times. They haunted me on that first balmy night I stayed in the dorms, alone, when I went away to college. And they returned when I moved into my first studio apartment. Now, they won't stop ringing in my ears, yet again.

But, for me, these five words express a different sentiment than the OED would tell you.

I have no home. But because I have many homes.

There's my home in Kansas, where I know that various parcels of cheese, haphazardly re-wrapped with their torn Whole Foods labels, await my return. Prior to this will be a father who will excitedly tell me that we have a bottle of scotch waiting at home, all the while asking about the flight, hurrying my oversized duffel to the trunk navy Ford Fusion parked outside. And along side him will be a mother who, on our drive home, will tell me that she dutifully bought Anderson Erickson Cherry Vanilla yogurt (my favorite) and some overly-sugared cereal, preferably Apple Jacks, to welcome me back to normalcy. This is my home. where I spend my time, virtually or physically. It's where I recognize the smell of our musty garage, and anticipate the obligatory glance at the (no doubt) lit pond in the back yard.

But, while this may be my "home." I have other homes.

I have my home in Rome, where ochre-tinted lights allowed us to linger along the Tiber well into the night. The places where I learned to trust myself. To explore the world.

I have the couches where I spent many nights, lazily pontificating to wine-soaked minds. I have the restaurants where I spent so many weekend brunches. The metro stations, from which I rushed home, desperate to discard the day's events.

In the past year, I have added a new home to this list--Leeds. No, it hasn't always been ideal. But, it also has been full of adventures that I never thought possible. Slowly finding new words ingratiate themselves to my vocabulary. Discovering that I'm not alone in my fears. Realizing that it's not easy to start a new life, but it's worthwhile.

In a few weeks, my dissertation will be done, and I'll begin to make a new home. It may be in New York or San Francisco. It may be in Manchester. Or London.

Home? I have no home.

I am always home.

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