It’s hard to feel at home now. Growing up, phrases like “You can’t go home again” struck me as odd. As a teenager, despite any tiffs I got in with my parents, I knew that when things got tough I could go home to where I’m loved and accepted; Even if I’m not understood. On my most recent sojourn in Pennsylvania I stayed with my family that gathered for the first time in two years together in my parent’s home. I walked to my bedroom, and through the familiar pokey halls and drafty rooms thinking about an earlier experience. Our extended family had been gathered together in an Uncle’s home to celebrate someone’s birthday. I was a little kid, probably seven years old, and I wandered to Todd’s bedroom. Todd was my cousin who had recently left for college, though he was home for this particular event. His room was immaculate. The bed was made. There was Pitt paraphernalia carefully organized on shelves, and the walls. The only idea that anyone had been in the room was a duffle bag at the foot of the bed. Clothes half spilled out, looking like a crouched cat that is tentative to enter a new territory for the first time. This image of the college student’s room always stayed with me. When I was back in PA for Christmas I sat on the edge of the bed that was carefully made, and stared at the BYU-Idaho pennant hanging on the wall, and the carry-on suitcase near the door. I knew that although I grew up here, I didn’t belong anymore, and all I wanted was to go back to where I did feel at home. The last time I felt truly at home, I was at a party. My roommate is into this social scene, and she loves to throw parties at our apartment and have it be talked about and meet new people. I’m definitely not in the same boat. During the beginning of this particular event I paced back and forth between the back rooms and the front porch in order to disguise my social unease. This was my apartment and I did not feel like it was home. Eventually Ivor showed up, followed by Brittany and Doug. None of these people were into this scene and we all clustered together on the couch, forming a protective bond that kept all unwanted new acquaintances away. Being on that couch, with those people who I didn’t need to impress and who weren’t trying to impress me or anyone around me, I recognized this feeling of comfort that I had while growing up in my parent’s home. Though I still am able to enjoy this feeling of home while at school I feel that it comes less and less; and I wonder where the next place that I find it will be.
11 months ago