Woke up this morning feeling homesick – a feeling I’ve had off and on ever since shelter-in-place started. On its face, this feeling is so patently absurd – how could I be homesick, when I’ve never been anywhere but home for these past six months? – and I actually love being here, and am grateful that the sequence of events in my life led me to spend so much time in this beautiful apartment with gorgeous bay windows filled with plants and sunlight.
When I visualize longing in this way, it consists of scenes I’m not sure I’ve actually seen in real life. I’m pretty sure they’re pastiches of different elements I have seen, and filed away in the deep recesses of my brain – an alley way here, a corner of a building, a fire hydrant and a post box and maybe a utility pole. An illegible street sign. Steam rising from vents. Shadows of a couple, merging and separating. A streak of sunset. Smells of sugar, of garlic, of something heavily fried, briefly contaminated by the smell of raw sewage. Puddles. Looking up in the middle of a busy train station. The awkward moments where my eyes meet those of a stranger’s, and we briefly make connection before moving on. The ineffable something created by the combined chemistry of strangers passing through the same space. Faraway conversation, laughter.
The world has shrunk so much, and my previous lives feel like a distant dream. I’m at peace with it. I’ve been so marvelously lucky to have experienced even an eighth of the things I have seen on my thirty-seven years on this Earth. I have my memories, both real and imaginary.
I sure do still miss home, though.