smoke signals - flashing mirrors - messages in bottles - carrier pigeons - flags in the air - hoofbeats on the ground

Thursday, June 03, 2010

dear melissa

Domesticity Isn’t Pretty

My father told me he would always help me find my way home. I have reached a point in my life where I would like to or perhaps need to build my own home. I miss the idea that used to visit me of bringing to life my own family. It seems to have taken a temporary vacation. Tickets for a return trip are scarce. I suppose that is what happens when we deconstruct our identities. I begin to see a sad boarded up house, wood planks blocking the windows, broken down car in the driveway, weeds overtaking everything.

I used to keep a list in my wallet titled “Good Thought: In Case of Emergency.” I pulled that out tonight and it read:

  1. Keep playing the game, just keep playing the game.
  2. Driving down the highway, in traffic, do not switch lanes. Have patience, things will begin to move at the right speed again.
  3. Listen to Amsterdam music, close your eyes and go there.
  4. Sing everything you know.
  5. Write until you hands cannot work anymore.
  6. Run until your legs cannot work anymore.
  7. Think of all the people who love you, write down their names and why.
  8. Remember you have to let go a little sometimes if you want people to come back.
  9. Go to a bookstore.

I realized I’d written that list almost 10 years ago when I was just coming to terms with my sexual identity.

I am not a crier. I wish I could. Thoughts of my family can sometimes induce tears, but they are almost always stifled by an unconscious resistance. As I read through the list I began relating to that scared and pressurizing feeling I felt at 15, eyes welled up, maybe I let one tear escape, sniffle, sniffle, cough and resume control.

I then thought of that home again, seeing now piles of lumber and hammers, nails and screw (all neatly organizes of course). The silhouetted figures of a husband and a kid and a dog (okay, Samson was definitely there too).. One piece of furniture to move in, my first real kitchen table.

My hands are ready for the labor. I am ready to make the first strike now. Bruising, scraped, swollen thumb be damned (I am not too good at the construction thing), but it will be my own home.

And you will come to visit. Will you come to visit? And you will sit at my kitchen table. And maybe you can help me build it stronger, make improvements here and there. And you, you will give it the name ‘home.’ And all of you will bring me home..

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