On Friday night, around eight, I clamored up the back porch steps and opened my apartment door, the one off the kitchen. Charlie, two steps ahead of me, anxious to see his bed and the familiar space, darted between my legs and was stretched out on the floor in seconds.
After two weeks away, my apartment was stiff and stuffy, the windows all shut up and locked, the hot air circulating. But what was most overwhelming was the silence. Charlie laid down, put his head on the floor, exhausted after bouncing around in the rental car for thirteen hours on the drive from New Jersey. He didn’t sleep at all and I knew he wouldn’t protest when I put him in his crate that night. Still, for a second, I just stood over him and breathed in.
It was as close to feeling at home as I could feel. The by-product of wander lust is that you never really grasp that feeling of “Home- This is Home. I’m home.” Even in LA in the beginning, when things were so amazing and I couldn’t wait to get off the plane, to clamor through LAX and see Vic and the Geo idling outside, in the back of my mind was a little voice that said, “This is just temporary.” Of my own choosing, you understand, but still. That same voice appeared Friday night on the highway as my rental car swung up over a hill and the etched silhouette of the Chicago skyline appeared. I was happy to see it, happy to have reached it… But I wasn’t home. This, too, is just temporary. I could be here for years but I won’t stay forever.
Neither was I home when that same rental car pulled into my parents’ driveway two weeks ago and Charlie clawed at the back of my seat, anxious to get out and see the man and the lady who lavish him with treats and hugs and take his picture while he tests out sleeping in every corner of the house. Not in the sense of this is my home anyway. Being with my family is temporary too, in a way. Maybe if my parents had remained, like so many do, in the house where me and my brother and sisters grew up, there would be a lasting feeling of Home- maybe that would be it for me. I don’t know. That’s not how it is. There’s little point in wondering about it.
Still, I’m here. I’m sorry for my absence over the last two weeks but I’m back now and I’ll be here for a while. Home, wherever that is.