1. Write about moving home
Everyone always told me all these phrases about home. Home is where the heart is. Home is where your mind goes when it wanders. Some people would just say home is where you lay your head at night. As I grew up, I battled back and forth with every definition of home I found. My heart was in my chest, surely my chest wasn’t home; lovers come and go so often in life that surely they aren’t home either. Home always seemed like it was something that should be permanent. My train of thought has always been much like the way I shop; it meanders until I find the destination and what I was looking for. That being said, my mind was always wandering. So was home found in purple shoelaces, how the opposite gender dries off and that key I found in the sixth grade? I had my doubts.
My house wasn’t always the best place to be. We lived in a nicer part of town, and the house, well, it was beautiful. I’ll always remember the crimson door, and the equally bright terror that hid behind it. The perfect white fence, the cheerful pansies and daisies that’d dance in the breeze. The broad porch and the wicker chair that saw three kids come and go, that caught the woman struck down by alcoholic rage.
I had never wanted friends over; I was scared that they’d see it. See, Dad had a problem with the booze, and Mom was too blind to move on. There aren’t enough fingers and toes in the world to tally up the number of bruises I watched her carefully hide. The hollow-point smiles she gave the world, the cheery tone she had while discussing flowers, and children, and the PTA at every barbaque. It would take even more to mark down the number of bruises I struggled to keep covered during school. He was smart, I’ll give him that. He never went for the faces, always the chest, the sides, arms, stomach. I almsot wished I wasn’t so good at it. Maybe then, a teacher would notice. Someone would notice, would care, would stop it.
When the time rolled around, I got out of there as fast as I could. Went off to some out of state community college and chased girls and degrees. Ended up with a Bachelors in Psychology. It wasn’t too long after that that I realized I hated psychology and just went off chasing girls and whimsies. Don’t fall down the rabbit hole, Alice.
Well, I sure fell down the rabbit hole. I refused to touch alcohol, but nothing stopped me from trying everything else I could get my hands. After the girl I’d been dating for the better part of a year dumped me, I wanted to drown. Meth opened that door.’
It was two years, before I kicked it to the curb and wanted to make something of myself again. I started to paint. I painted that crimson door, and green green grass. Portraits of girlfriends past, and people too perfect to exist. I painted libraries, and daisies, and mother’s smiles. Someone noticed, and I made several pretty pennies selling my canvas. I got a side job, to pay for my paints and easels. Some small retail job.
For a long, long time, I lived in my beat-up old Volkswagen. It’s stained backseat was my bed, my couch, my livingspace. The local Y was my shower. And I drove wherever caught my eye. I guess that’s how I ended up in Wichita. That’s how I ended up in a bookstore at the edge of town, how I ran into the girl carrying too many books.
Today, I’m walking through a crimson door. There’s a little work that needs to be done, but we’ve got buckets of paint in the back of the car. We searched yardsales for weeks before we found the right couch, bassinet, you name it. She planted daises by the front porch. All these years running from home, chasing home, contemplating home. But home isn’t something that can be put into words. It’s that feeling of belonging, of safety and of warmth. It’s where the shadows can’t harm you, and everything just happens to work out, in the end.
I set out on a path long ago, fearing a red door and hollow-point smiles. Today I walked through my own red door; smiles piercing through to the core of my being. Today, I moved home.
Welcome to entry one of my free writing. Forgive any typos; wordpad only does so well at catching them. I originally started on something totally different; but this is what came out. Here’s what I originally started:
It was strange, walking down this path again. So many years ago, or so it felt, I had traversed this walkway every day of my life. I could almost tell you the number of cracks in each block of cement, the location of every ant hill and of course, the way that earth felt between my toes. But then, that feels so far from now.
I had left with a broad smile and even broader dreams. Everything I had decided I absolutely couldn’t part with was packed into a box, labled, and Tetris’d into a backseat or trunk. The passenger seat I had left empty, open for books, snacks, and whatever else I had found worthy of being a travel companion. After eighteen years of the same old same old, I was finally breaking out.