The following is a piece from a writing club that I take part in here at WELD. Each week we assign each other a prompt and require 300-500 written words on a topic. Often times these pieces turn out to be mere starts to longer projects or assignments; the goal, however, is to encourage consistency in the act of writing, whatever the outcome.
This is an excerpt from a future, possibly longer piece on the idea of 'Home' and what it means to me. It could be part of a memoir or story. At this point, I have no idea idea what it will be, but I post, simply, to share. Enjoy.
It took 26 years for me to call anything home, and for the longest time I hated it. I wanted nothing to do with it. The part of home where I lived until college reeked of conventionality and fancy cars and disappointments initially led on by insurmountable optimism, and the school district, of course, was one of the best in the northmost parts the city. Kids at 16 were handed the keys to daddy’s, or a new, shiny Mercedes, which usually served as the means of drop-off for whatever narcotics were being passed around at the time. Kids were also killing themselves, or faking to kill themselves to get attention, and then actually killing themselves.
This is not what I call home. But it was where I dwelled for the better part of my life. And it wasn’t until 26 that I realized home was indeed not comprised of the stench of perfection and perfectly curbed streets and stepford blonde housewives (sometimes brunette), and Chanel No. 7. Praise god that even in the midst of apparent vanity my parents were able to teach me what life wasn’t actually like despite the otherwise compelling evidence surrounding us.
The actual home within this vain paradise meant thick, crisp bacon on a Saturday morning, shared over jet fuel coffee with a couple close friends who stayed over the night before. Mornings like these only followed the fenced-in beauty of late night hot tub shenanigans, or in November those glorious four-hour fireside chats in the side yard, when it was cold enough. We preferred the fire over the hottub since the hottub sat directly beneath our parents’ bedroom and inevitably woke them up. I was always the one to hush the crowd, and brother always the one to tell me to stop worrying.
But calling even this home was a struggle. We moved houses when I was a senior in high school, a lateral move by my parents in a successful attempt to pay off a large amount of debt and get me through college (which I’m grateful for), but it meant moving from the place I thought would be the permanent dwelling. Displacement was never ideal, but sometimes necessary, and I understood this. My room in the first house was huge. Plenty of room for a desk, headboard and bed, and other activities. I had two whole windows overlooking the houses across the street which were perfect imitations of our own, only mirrored (Yes, Mr. Developer, we noticed.).
This room was the place that I wrote my first essay, or at lease the first thing I became remotely proud of. I wrote on a dark brown desk, stained with engraved bi-products of others handwritten work which bled through but didn’t pierce the paper between the pen and desk.