Thoughts On Home and Magic

Home and Magic are two things that I maybe didn’t fully believe in until after the past two days.

Home is a thing that’s hard for me to define. There are places that feel like home and can be clearly defined that way: my family’s house in Gettysburg, for sure. It is the address I put for “permanent address” on forms, it is the place where I can stay up until 4 AM and walk around in my underwear without worrying. It is where my parents, brothers, and pets live, it is where I spend my breaks from school. Having just left it, I do feel homesick. Especially for my mommy, who writes such nice blog posts about my messy room.

But it’s in a town that’s not home. I’m going to awkwardly quote Bowling for Soup now:

I hope this song finds you well.
And I hope that you’re doin’ fuckin’ swell.
I hope that you’re back up if you’ve ever been down.
And I hope that you got the fuck out of our hometown.

I try not to refer to Gettysburg as my hometown, although it is a town which my home is in.

But then, my parents’ house isn’t my only home. I was very much reminded of that today.

Being back in Provincetown is surreal. I walk around town and everything seems less colorful than I remembered it. Smaller than I remembered it. The problem with being a child in a place and then leaving is you have this image of all streets as wide, all flags as bright. FAWC, where my dad used to be director, seemed familiar but not quite right. There was the place a cat scratched me (I was just trying to be friends!), the little house on the quad where we lived, the newly renovated offices that used to have swinging doors that I would skip through. Memories of silent auctions and days spent sitting under wooden staircases, telling myself stories.

Commercial Street was also strange. I found the coffee place where my mom would buy me muffins and scones (lemon poppyseed was my favorite, I think), but it was closed for the off-season. I found two places that sold salt-water taffy, and, wanting to buy some for myself and my brothers, I was torn. They were across the street from each other, I could remember being in both stores. Which one was better? Did I have a preference, ten years ago? I chose the one whose door was hanging open, it seemed more welcoming, but I instantly regretted it. It felt touristy and fake, the other one, out the window, looked more family-owned and homey. I was shamed, a tourist in a town that had once been home. I bought taffy and left, annoyed.

 

But then. Magic! My dad and I went over to Pat‘s house before going out to dinner with her. Everything was exactly as I had remembered it. Pat’s house is unchanged, but also organic and living. Her new dog, a wolf mix (70% wolf, Pat thinks) barked at me and I remembered that I was a stranger and that things were new, I guess, even if everything seemed perfectly congruent to my memories.

Pat’s old dog, Atisha, had been my peer as a child. We were the under-table dwellers, those who played with tennis balls, the shorter-than-everyone twosome. I had hung out with her in a den of pillows and sheepskin under a table, that den was still there. It looked impossibly small. Paintings, some by Pat and some by others, covered the walls. Plants grew everywhere. Outside, we could see the beach.

 

I can say “I never lived there, it is not my home.” But I was alive there, and it felt like home, so maybe that’s not true. I have no concept of how much time I actually spent there, if the way I feel about the house as a place is reasonable or deserved. If I am just one of many children who feels that they grew there, though maybe not up. Maybe just better.

Home for me is also a weird concept I guess because of the whole long distance relationship thing. A part of my home is always with Ari (oh hey) even though we’ve never lived in the same place. Teenage love is very self-centered, though I just told my dad that compared to other teenagers, Ari seems about 50 years old. In a good way. I have an old-person’s disease (so people tell me) so I guess we’re both secretly elderly.

Next year my home will be a little less torn. Ari got into Wesleyan. Real tears of joy happened on my end (Dad was very amused). I guess that’s a little magic too. I’m not the “tears of joy” type (usually).

I’m really happy right now.

PS: sorry about the pictures of Pat’s house. It was a terrible moment when I realized that I was in one of the most magical places in the world and only had my cell phone as a camera. Atisha’s grave is the first picture, the rest are inside Pat’s house.

Naranja y Nada

Under the dorm complex where I lived freshmen year, there are tunnels (that supposedly used to connect the entire campus instead of just the three surrounding dorms) which now are covered in graffiti. Well, actually, I don’t know if they were covered with graffiti back when they were in use too. The laundry room is down there, which I think is the only reason we were allowed to go down. Sometimes another door to another tunnel had been left unlocked and we could go exploring.

We found one room last year that just had trays and trays of rocks, labeled, stacked sloppily. We found a room full of old books. We found, on the wall, a long breakup speech written in sharpie. I doubt the person who it was intended for ever found it. And if they had, how would they have known it was for them?   It wasn’t very specific

In case you can’t tell, I’m a little bit sad today. I took a red-eye back home from Seattle last night/this morning and I wish I hadn’t. I guess I don’t talk about it much, but being in a long-distance relationship is hard. We’ve been making it work (some times more so than others) for 2.5 years now though, so I guess we’re pretty pro?

Anyway, lately I’ve been thinking a lot about time. The picture above is from the aforementioned tunnels, and it made me think about what I was saying before about staying up late, all night even, for no reason.

Hours have started going faster for me, I think. Hours spent in boring lectures or MRI machines or cramped family roadtrips (dear parents, get a minivan…) seem to pass much faster than they did before. Maybe it’s because as we grow older, an hour becomes a smaller and smaller fraction of our lives? That’s maybe a bit too poetic.

My doctor says that there is a 75% chance that I will still be walking in 10 years. I think he’s kind of ignoring (on purpose) that 25% chance of me being in a wheelchair at age 28. At least I’ll be done with medical school by then, but it still seems pretty young. And I don’t get how a 30% medication (what I wrote about in my last post) is supposed to sound like a giant percentage, but 25% is supposed to sound small.

When I’m just alone at night I have to think about things like this instead of getting to sit up late talking with my boyfriend about anything and everything. I remember when we first met, we walked around Barcelona for several hours just talking and drinking an incredibly disgusting kind of orange juice. Those hours felt pretty short too. Hey love, this one’s for you. Miss you.

The Orange Cat, or Why Sometimes You Can’t Be Positive

I try to think positive, I really do! My brother doesn’t believe me, he tells me I’m negative and cynical.

And I said maybe he’d be negative and cynical too if there was something eating his brain, so maybe I’m not really so positive as I hope.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this cat lately

^that cat.

Continuing on, I’ve been thinking a lot about the cat. Last year I spent a very long time (sigh) chasing around that cat in a graveyard in Paris just to get the perfect picture (possibly achieved up there).

Today I spent a beautiful summer day in the ER, which basically concluded in them giving me a very high dose of advil and saying sometimes people with MS just have pain. 

Here comes the return of the list:

Facts of today: 

1. I don’t want to be a person with MS

2. I don’t want to just have pain

3. I had decided that my choices for the day were to go to the gym or to go to the ER and find out why I was having severe chest pains, and I should have really chosen the gym

4. Today I am not an optimist

And so I wonder if there will be more days chasing an orange cat around a rainy cemetery in Paris, just to get that one perfect picture. Probably, because I’m not in a wheelchair, and my condition isn’t that bad, but some days it just doesn’t seem like it. 

Sorry, that was a long rant. See ya, everybody 🙂