When I was in exile. Self-staged in the far suburbs of Marietta, divorced and living alone without much to do other than eat local fruit and lettuce, longboard skate or recite poetry to a wall I’d painted red to bring fame, between bouts of writing my book manuscript in my home office and my popular MySpace sports blog down the street in my step-dude’s home office where there was an internet connection, I combed through my folks’ bookshelves pretty hard and eventually read anything that even remotely interested me.
Amongst the hundreds of books I heartily avoided in the chick-lit genre and the stacks of Hippie 1960’s and Me Generation 1970’s self-help froth, I found a memoir by a Hawaiian San Francisco poet who had moved back to the Volcano Village to run this family-owned general country store on the edge of the National Park. Mom had recommended it to me a year prior I recalled, not as a great read but as a story of a poet who moved back “home” to write. It was otherworldly and eerily familiar.
Can we ever really go home again and if we did would it still be home to us? We aren’t what we were and can only remember in part who we were at the time. I’m a Texan with only vague notions of the place reformed from stories told and adult visits to the Republic. An Atlantan, I’m a big city boy who somehow suddenly has only fuzzy half-recollections of the suburb I lived in most of my life.
Seems many moons ago I read that book as I enter what has to be the same store – it’s the only one anywhere near here – with the lady who I already know will someday be my second wife. We buy some exotic Hawaiian sweet snacks and other basic travel supplies.
We are staying in the mountains again, this time in a full on lodge. I’m reminded of the happy summer I spent living way up in the Tennessee mountains as a boy with my Nanny and Mom and siblings, after my folks had finally split for good, which was a long painful time coming. Mom would like it up here.
I so miss my Texas-y Nanny and Daddy. I miss my sweetheart sons. I miss whatever it is that we call home.
The air is getting so crisp and cool up here as the sun threatens to set, I want to pull on a sweater. I find myself hollow, sad on the inside on a cold mountain in Hawaii contemplating home. I even miss my old travel companion some, but I’m ashamed when I have to admit this to myself, because my new travel companion is perfectly great.
And then I see my future-wife see into the near edge of the oceanic depths of me and she asks, “What’s wrong?”