“I’ll be home in five.”
It’s the kind of thing we like to say; to know in a very short time we’ll be back in a place of belonging, of safety, of the normal everyday where-we-BE.
Lucky us, to have that.
Lucky us, not to be sheltering from warfare, or schlepped across countries against our will, or even out on the streets, where ‘home’ might be a shop doorway or a cardboard tent against the cold. The world is full of homelessness.
I read, recently, or maybe watched a short documentary…it was about homeless people on the streets of Britain who, in the middle of winter, preferred to stay outside in their little shelter, with their scraps of nothing and whatever dignity their scrounging could afford, because they trusted it more than the shelter which was on offer. That made me sad, but also made sense.
Home is where we feel safe (ideally).
They say ‘home is where the heart is’, and that’s true to an extent as well, but I suppose if you’ve been careless (I mean lucky) enough to give parts of your heart to people whose geography keeps them a thousand miles (or more) away, your home is fractured – ever scattered, and you can live betwixt and between but never settle. Maybe the nomads have it better – they and all their people pack up and leave all together, carrying their home wherever geography takes them.
Maybe home is where you know the feel of the roads with your eyes closed in the passenger seat. Maybe it’s where you’ve forged a history (or history has surged to encompass you nonetheless) and you recognise landmarks and non-marks, and notice small things in unremarkable places which matter to you because there, in that space, you lived.
Was I home in five? Consciousness certainly streamed, and thoughts flowed quickly enough, but rapidly off on tangents (which, I suppose, is part of the point of the exercise). I wanted to say ‘home is where the love is’, but I think that’s naive and perhaps only aspirational. Home can be where memories are, but that doesn’t mean it’s homely, or lovely, or somewhere you want to remain, and I think those, too, are crucial factors of ‘home’. We all want a place to belong, where people know us, accept us, acknowledge, and love us for who we are.
Maybe that’s what we’re all searching for.