One night a few weeks ago I was watching a movie with my roommates. Every time I call them that, I get a little twinge of something in my belly related to "That sounds so long-term. So indefinite." That very topic made its way into the conversation. I think we were discussing the intermittent idea of selling the house they own to live somewhere slightly less expansive. It's a pretty big house. Which of course would very likely reduce my sizeable spread down here in the basement apartment that is my current, cozy home. Probably not gonna' happen, but let's don't rule it out.
I don't even remember what was said, who said it, or why they said it. It had to do with the fact that this place has become my home. I think, perhaps, there was a suggestion of my staying on. Of nobody wanting me to leave. "This is your home!" were, I think, some of the specific words spoken aloud. I think it was suggested I should bring more of my things from storage. Like my actual big bed. Y'know: more things to make my perfectly-wonderful space even more normal. And my stomach did a huge flip, and my breathing got all funny. As in: I couldn't quite catch my breath for a few seconds. Katie's eyes grew huge, she put her hand on my leg and she said with a smile but a twinge of alarm, too, "Are you okay?" She gets my wandering impulses more, I think, than her husband does. Either that, or she's just got that well-developed, innate intuitive-woman-thing that makes her just very good at "managing me" and my free-spirited ways.
But that's the thing about The Time Between Trips To Other Places. You can hop from house to house, taking care of your friends' and acquaintenances' pets, bringing in their mail, making sure the house doesn't blow up or disappear while they're doing their own travel. I've done so much of that these past few years. Or you can find something cozy and normal for a while.
I've been here off and on since, I'm told, last February. I have no reason to doubt this date, of course. But I don't keep up with such things very well. Of that time, I was away for a total of probably 3 and a half months, maybe four. But regardless of the time away, this is the year I started returning to the same place for long stretches of time in between... and stopped wondering where I might want to hang my hat next. It became less of a hassle to know where I'd be. It became more comfortable to choose this place. And to know they chose me to be a part of their family, too.
While I still get a little nervous if ever I get the sense of expectation or obligation where questions of "home" arise, I do love it here. Sadly, I haven't been traveling much in a while. It takes a while to recoup from the kind of unadulterated freedom and spending I did during my 6 weeks on the west coast. And to save for the bigger trip I'm taking in 2011. In the mean time, I have a home. There, I said it. Sure, it's a place I can - and do - leave any time I want, and unless details are specifically coordinated, there's never an obligation that I be here, either. But at this time of year, when phrases like, "count your blessings" and "we are lucky" and "there's much to be grateful for" are thrown around, I realize just how nice it feels to have settled into the rhythms of this space.
Will I hit the road again as soon as I can possibly work out the details? You bet your sweet patootie! But until then, this is where I'll be. And that feels just fine too...