There was a day when it all felt ‘normal’.
I only remember that my hand independently stopped thumbing through the calendar on my lap and I looked up sharply at the brick wall, as if it had started speaking to me. Staring at nothing, eyes glazed over as I looked inside not out I watched the moment when my mind caught up with my brain. My mind’s eye showing me exactly what that looked like – a snake shedding its skin – only in reverse, ending with a crescendo of the smell of sudden turmeric, like a musky punch to the nose. For a moment or two my ears rang and the swaying room glittered with tiny throbbing yellow orbs.
Now very aware of my body in this place. My sore back on the large soft pillow, dirty knees up the concrete ceiling and flaking feet flat on the hard bed in this room, my room, where I now lived. My favourite music coming out my speakers together with my backpack – empty, clothes on the dresser, folded, hanging, neat, all looked ‘correct’.
Books were near by, a timetable written and tacked on the door. This was the room of someone who seemed ready to go, organised. Did I do all this?
Through the gauze window the weather was clear and was warm, the air quite crispy and humming with the laughter of small people and pinches of an unknown spice.
A new species of spider on the outer glass brought my gaze back inside, to where the white gecko was laughing at me wisely from the corner of the red room, ‘Heh eh-eh eh-eh eh-eh’. Were they poisonous? I didn’t know, I felt safe, I was calm and knew I was home.
But I was far from my house, in fact I was over eight thousand miles from my house – not only that but up a mountain too.
I closed my eyes and imagined being in my old place and because of the song I got there. It was crystal clear, I saw my old cream walls with their artwork, saw my friends sitting next to me amongst all the stuff that made me me, whilst hearing the sound of the trees behind the song I knew so well. Yet when I opened my eyes to this home, with that same music, some of those belongings and my own inner peace, I felt I would never really return to that old house. Not this updated version of me, not now I’ve seen myself unfold somewhere much better, peacefully and happily. I closed my eyes and went back once more, already there was less stuff in the room.
‘How can this feel like home?’ I asked the wall, the gecko and the spider. They didn’t answer but their silence said, consider the snake. How long had my mind been somewhere else? How long had I been on autopilot? How long had my brain covering the shift for my wandering mind? My whole life? Have I always had this power to lift my spirit from one place and put it down in another? Where else could I make home?
That last question stayed with me, so when I left that place a long time after, I didn’t feel sad. Others cried but I didn’t and I wasn’t scared of what was next. I bring the sunshine with me – and I’d take it right back there one day, but before I returned I would travel constantly. For years I’d have to fit myself in to every new place, atmosphere, situation and new life comfortably. Every time I packed, unpacked, re-packed, de-packed I made contact. With myself, who I was, what I owned and what burdens and belongings I could and could not carry.
Just like that first time in the red room, I’d meet myself over and over again and each time I had ‘settled in’ to the room or my skin, taking either minutes or months, my eyes would meet the wall again and to the sound of crinkling snake-skin I’d feel at home.
Now I am quicker. Although I crave a solid base and am as tired as my backpack, I also celebrate my opportunity to monitor my impact on a small room or on our colossal planet.
I am homeless and homefull in this new place today.
In my skin, I am back home.
I am always home.
I am my home.
I am Home.