This vague sadness was hard to pin down at first. I’ve just moved in with my boyfriend. For the first time in my life, I’m living with someone based on more than financial necessity and mutual tolerability. We’re trying to build a bond and a future. The first week has been exciting an interesting, but then this small sadness descended. I looked for clues in our interactions, but our relationship seems not to be the cause.
I simply miss home.
I don’t mean the small house in El Monte I share with Harry, my highly tolerable housemate, where I’ll return come August. The house is very nice and Harry’s a good guy. But it’s never where I wanted to live and although I settled in almost two years ago now, it’s not home.
Which reminds me of this feeling. I had it just after moving to Los Angeles, because I understood the place I’d chosen to settle was not a place I wanted to live. The reasons that had brought me were and remain strong enough to tie me here, for now.
And again, now that I’ve moved down to Moreno Valley for the summer, moved in with Colin, I am aware of this feeling of being in a place I do not want to live even if the reasons are strong. Very strong. And again, even though it’s not so bad a place, just a nice apartment in a newer style complex in the suburban sprawl around an Air Force base, it’s not home.
I left home two years ago – sold it, in fact, which still makes my heart ache a little. Home was a tiny, old apartment with drafty windows and a deep, cast-iron tub I loved beyond reason. Home was a green urban neighborhood in a mostly overlooked Midwestern city that, for nostalgia sake, preserved the brick streets in the oldest part of town. Home was a view of the Capital tower and great summer thunderstorms for west-facing windows and long hot summers with too little air conditioning. Home was the Saturday morning bike ride down to the farmer’s market and a breakfast of eggs and heirloom tomatoes at the little corner place.
There are things I don’t miss. I liked the College of Architecture well enough as a place, and some of the people in it to, but I don’t miss the lifestyle it enforced – twelve hour days in study and weekends once a month. I don’t miss the criticism and the ego and the cliquishness. I don’t miss the looming career prospects of more of the same.
That’s why I came here – for all of the things I don’t miss. I like what I do here. I just wish I could do it there. I like the people I do things with, and, most especially, this strange guy who for some unfathomable reason has invited me (and my irritating cat) to live with him. Just the reminder makes me happy, but I’m still a little sad.
That’s the rub, isn’t it? Not getting what we want, wanting other than what we get – that’s suffering. I want something other than this present, perfect moment. That want wells up in small moments of sadness, wistfulness, nostalgia, eyes unfocused on something I can no longer see, a view I no longer have, the sound of spring thunder replaced by the thunder of fighters from the base. Ah, sigh.
Nothing to be done for it. Name it. Know it. Move on. Maybe in the future I’ll get to construct the life I want in a place I want to live it. Or maybe I’ll just learn to see the perfection in the places I find myself in.