These are the keys to the house I grew up in. I found them a few weeks ago while cleaning out a box of stuff I probably hadn’t looked at in at least three years. It’s funny. I moved away to go to college and for one reason or another never moved back home again, not even for the summers in between semesters. In hindsight, I wish I would have known I wasn’t ever going to be home at that house again. I’d lived there since middle school and knew every corner, nook and cranny by heart. The truth though is this: I was an eighteen year old itching to break free from a small town and I probably would have just said “Yahoo!” I guess that’s why they call it hindsight.
Anyway, I found myself looking at them on that table, thinking of the jingle they used to make as I pulled them from my backpack when I got off the bus. I’d go inside, work on homework, eat a snack, watch whatever re-run of Golden Girls was on and wait for my mom to get home. No one ever called me the coolest kid in town, that’s for sure. In a way I can’t really describe, it made me feel incredibly homesick. I know it’s a cliché, but these were the keys to the last place I really felt was my home. My mom painted that nail polish on that key so I’d know which one was my house key. That is the mailbox key where I got my first magazine subscriptions, letters from pen pals, and long-waited for admission letters to college. The key chain is for a summer job I had long since forgotten about.
I know I don’t belong back where I grew up. Hell, I basically spent a large portion of my life looking to escape it, but still… I wonder. What is it that makes you feel at home? Coming from a family of five kids, sometimes I think it’s the silence of just living with another person that feels strange. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not sad. R. and I love our little apartment and most evenings when we’re home together, watching Game of Thrones or even doing our own individual things, I know that where we get to be is our home. It’s just funny how something as small as a long forgotten house key can remind you of a concept that is so frequently taken for granted, like feeling at home. Maybe I just need to stop watching stupid HGTV shows on buying a house.