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Saturday, April 28, 2007 

Going Home

I don’t know where home is anymore, there have been so many of them. So now instead of classifying it as one place in particular, I have chosen to classify it as moments where I felt secure, happy, and content; moments where I’ve felt loved and cherished. These are the moments that define how home should be for us, and the moments when I have felt most like I was at home when a specific solid place as home eluded me.

Home is a hill in the dark with sheep on it and so many stars it’s impossible to estimate to within even a million. An expanse of open space filled only with my thoughts, my dreams, my memories, and an infinite number of sparks in the sky to give me the one thing I always lacked: hope.

Home is a boy with dark curly hair and a worried smile. It’s a boy who stays up till three waiting for me to come home, and then spends the next hour patiently listening to my drunken rambles and handing me pints of water. It’s someone who’ll rub my back when I feel ill, leave me alone when I need it, and who’ll walk me to class and take me out for breakfast at one in the afternoon. It’s someone who makes me feel guilty if another man hits on me when he’s not there, and someone who I physically couldn’t hurt.

Home is green jade and glass beads. It’s a dragon tattooed on my hip and a family that I never met. It’s a country I haven’t been to, and another continent I have yet to visit. It’s a slew of postcards, emails, phone calls, and birthday cards. Its un-cashed cheques, and a watch I lost long ago. It’s an apartment in china town an ocean away from here, and a grandfather I never met. It’s squid, crab, and tortoise; it’s Macy’s and Clinique.

Home is a pirate boat imagined between two fir trees. Its sticks as swords and a red squirrel as first mate. Its two young girls whiling away the days with games of imagination. Its princesses, the spice girls, and eels in a stream; it’s daffodils in dappled light and tea parties under tables. It’s playing block with the other kids, hide and seek and mother may I? Its crushes on boys I’d never again look twice at, and friendships with girls who I haven’t seen for years.

Home is a sofa bed at a friend’s house with a cat on my feet and a dog stupider than me. It’s a younger brother who still won’t talk to me and parents who were stricter with me than mine. It’s a period of time encapsulated in one house, it’s a futon with cushions from Ikea and a bottle of white rum. It’s a girl who I know better than my sister, and a hill that breaks your legs.

Home is… another man I’ll never quite get over. Not one I still love, not one I still need, but one who I am still grateful for. He’s someone I can ignore for weeks and months, and who will suddenly come back in with just a sentence that makes me miss him all over again. Its past sex, it’s past love and crying, and at last its past wishing things could have been done differently. It’s just a time in space, a comment on losing yourself in a crowd, and I suddenly re-remember the reasons why it took so long to move on. It’s having someone wrapped around you and making you feel safe, it’s being looked after and protected.

Home is a series of moments that terrify me. Every single one of them caused me to run away in fear because as much as they made me happy, I was just too scared of losing them. They’re a past I moved on from, or a present that I’m deliberately messing up. But that’s okay. I’m seven months in with Matt and when it ends I’ll miss him but move on. I’ll run away, I’ll act up, and I’ll go back to alcohol and bad men. And then, when I’ve done my acting up, and found somewhere decent to run away to I’ll settle down and get over him. I’ll never be emotionally stable, over my addiction to alcohol, or safe with any man. But that’s not me. I’ll still talk to the numpty, and one day maybe it’ll just stop. I look forward to the day when he finds someone who he’ll be happy enough with to forget about me. But I don’t look forward to not talking to him; I look forward to him being happy. I’m scared of everything going wrong, but know that it will, and I’ll come out of it alright. I don’t need to worry anymore because happiness is just being home, and home is wherever I want it to be. Home is just a series of moments, and while they come and go rapidly, at least I can keep the memories.

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A great post Hatty. Really striking. I think sometimes you write your best stuff when you are trying to pin and mount the most elusive (or even illusive) butterflies. Thanks for sharing your notions of home.

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  • An albatross can fly for thousands of miles without getting tired. I've always thought that love is similar to flying, therefore we should aspire to be like the albatross.

    I don't know if I can do that. So far I haven't been so lucky. But one day I'll test my wings with someone, and flying won't be so hard after all. Or so painful.
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    * In 2001 one New Zealand fishing boat killed over 300 seabirds in just one trip, while fishing for ling.
    * Each year over 300,000 seabirds are killed by longline fishing.
    * Over the past 60 years some albatross populations have declined by 90%.
    * Annually around 10,000 albatross and petrels are caught in New Zealand waters alone.
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