There are certain events in life that make me feel like home as I remember it is long gone. Having changed apartments nearly every year since college, I don’t quite feel grounded anywhere yet. So when I think of home, I still think of that green shag carpet and the yellow and avocado striped walls of the house I grew up in down in Louisiana. I remember emptying my room before leaving for college, and I tried to replace everything I took with a filler item – for every picture I took with me, I put up one that didn’t mean anything to me, every memento was replaced with a tchotchke. That way it didn’t feel so empty when I returned – and those were some of my best efforts to ease the impact of change.
The first time I felt like home was a distant thing in the past was when I got sick for the first time in college and my mom could only do so much by phone. And my professors had no pity. And I had a roommate who still insisted on smacking on cheeze-its before class at 7 AM. That was the first dose of home-sickness – knowing that even if home were within reach, nothing would be the same because I already left.
The latest blow is my childhood pet, Phoenix, my cat since the age of 9, has to be put down on Saturday. For the past 3 yrs when my mom calls and has a certain tone in her voice, the first thing I would ask was “is it Phoenix?” And so this came as no surprise. What did come as a surprise is the incredible home-sick feeling that I got when I hung up the phone with my mom. I want to go home so bad because I’m scared the next time I go home there will be no walking through the door and calling out to see where Phoenix is hiding. And that won’t feel like home. It’s like trying to chase what’s in the past before it changes, and then realizing that it’s already too late.
It’s just part of growing up.