Saturday, January 28, 2006

Grace Period

We're having this remarkable mild weather for January. Sometimes I wonder if winter has been cancelled. Seven years ago, Andrea and Jo and Stephen and I would have slept late and gone to the round dining hall where they served breakfast until 1 p.m. and I would have smacked both my palms down on the table and said, "Here's my postulate" and we'd make a plan for the rest of the day. Today is the kind of day where it's so mild that- 11 years ago- we would have pulled all the musical sets outside and painted them in the empty parking lot outside the band room.

When I feel like this, all I want to do is go home to a Lancaster that doesn't exist anymore. I want to go home and see my friends. I want them all to have homes that don't exist anymore either, where we can spend time together and there are no in-laws to accommodate or work email accounts to check or traffic jams on roads that require us "to get a move on" and ultimately take us away from each other.

There is this scene in the movie Garden State where the main character describes this feeling better that I can. He says, "You know that point in your life when you realize that the house that you grew up in isn't really your home anymore? All of the sudden even though you have some place where you can put your stuff that idea of home is gone..... It just sort of happens one day, and it's just gone. And you can never get it back. It's like you get homesick for a place that doesn't exist. I mean it's like this rite of passage, you know. You won't have this feeling again until you create a new idea of home for yourself, you know, for your kids, for the family you start. It's like a cycle or something. I miss the idea of it. Maybe that's all family really is: a group of people who miss the same imaginary place."

In the meantime, I feel like I'm in limbo between the home I had and the home I will create. It's not necessarily a bad feeling. In fact, sometimes it's quite nice, like the grace period the first six months after graduation when you don't have to start paying back your student loans. And yet, it feels a little off, a little out of place. I know the limbo won't last, but... it makes me long for what was as well as what will be, like a spring day in the middle of January.

1 comment:

Judy Gaul said...

I remember so vivdly the feeling of "not really having a home." It hit me one hot August evening in 1971 as I ended my shift at Lau's store, when I vowed to myself I would NEVER spend another summer of my college years at home if I had any say in it. The feeling lasted through 3 rentals as a single person and 1 rental with my new husband.It ended in March 1975 when I pulled the radiator away from the wall of our newly purchased 70 year old home to proudly show my husband how well I had painted the bathroom wall behind the radiator--a most hideous pumpkin orange color--only to go down to the basement the next day and find I caused 6 inches of hot water to permeate our belongings. When I ran next door to borrow a garden hose from a neighbor I had never met, and he answered the door wearing a shirt w/ a local plumbing firm's logo, I knew in an instant I was finally "home."