Bouncing between my parents' house, my father-in-law's place, my aunt's genteel abode and several friends' places, not too mention using my grandmother's car for ferrying purposes, I felt a bit displaced.
It's a feeling that hits me every once in a while, especially if I've been busy running around trying to get things done in the real world and not spent enough time tidying up my thoughts. A friend once pointed out that I like my surroundings neat because my head's a bit of a jumble (she was merely stating a fact).
It's true. I nest. If I, or we, are to spend more than a night in any given place, I will unpack all the bags and rearrange the furniture to suit my preference. (I do not throw out all the aesthetically offensive ornaments as this famous Dutch actor apparently does, if today's paper is to be believed. Although my first thought upon reading that was "really? am I allowed to do that?".) I am not a very good traveller, my status as co-European champion notwithstanding, because once settled, I tend to stick around.
Because only once settled in my nest, can I start the process of putting away stray thoughts and tidying up strands of thinking and little bits of imagination. You know, just like you'd format a computer to get rid of all the debris bits. Every once in a while I'll announce to S. that he can't talk to me, because I need to recalibrate. He then looks a bit bemused, but as it usually involves me staring silently into space for a good chunk of time, he doesn't really mind. (He might actually enjoy it, come to think of it.)
Except lately, I've been running around too much to get the regular cleaning done. So, today, in the car, it hit me badly: feeling displaced, out of sorts, confused - and I yearned for my home, my place of rest to take care of my head.
But I had no clue where this 'home' was, right now.
Was I yearning for our Singaporean apartment, where I'm not allowed to put a nail in the wall and have had to make do with the furniture supplied and the fact that every single body in the building can enter my house at will? Not really. We live there happily, but it's hardly a proper home. Was I yearning for my last home in the Netherlands, the one in Utrecht where E. was born? We went back there in May and it has been transformed beautifully by the new inhabitants, much nicer than we would have ever been able to. It's all white and gleaming now, and not before time, as it was quite dilapidated and drafty when we were living there. But it definitely wasn't our orange and purple living space anymore. My parents house? After fifteen years away, it's no longer my home. In fairness, it hasn't been my home since my parents gave my - much larger - bedroom to Brother J, after I left for Bolivia.
Was I yearning for a future home? Not really. I can't really picture us in a Proper House or Apartment. You know, one that we'd actually have to care for instead of simply live in. I didn't yearn for the impersonal space of a hotel room either, not even if I'd personalized it by strewing around toys and magazines on the bed and hanging my clothes in the cupboard.
It took me a while, but I figured it out. (Fortunately, it was a bit of a drive and E. fell asleep after I turned the first corner.) And it's so corny I hesitate to write it down, so please have your sick bags at the ready.
S. is my home.
I never knew the truth in old sayings could be so literal.