Crater Lake, at the Delaware Water Gap
Coming home was a big lesson in remembering. The minute we got off the plane I felt the hot, sticky, impenetrable humidity of the Mid-Atlantic, even within the air conditioned terminal. I had forgotten the way the moisture saturates all the smells-- good and bad. As we waited for our shuttle to the car rental place, I glanced down at the grimy sidewalk to see an assortment of gum, cigarette butts, and filth. It's almost as if there aren't enough people in Victoria to make that kind of grossness that 1.5 million people can. As we were carted around the airport in a shuttle bus that blasted bad rap music, I remembered how the site of the Philadelphia skyline could make me want to cry-- and still does. It's a smathering of colonial history, ugly 1970's architecture, ghosts of the PSFS past, and the glass beast that is Comcast. I love that city.
My parent's house is a site of a childhood simultaneously forgotten and remembered, with details that were overlooked for 25 years, and now have significance and meaning. The ornate and wobbly iron doorknob to my bedroom that still doesn't quite close unless you jiggle it just right. The cracks in each of the ceilings that either haven't grown in the 35 years my parents owned the house or have grown significantly since the last time I was there 10 months ago. The creaks and groans of the floorboards on the second floor landing, the staircases, the dining room. The patch of sandy dirt on the sidewalk just as you turn right from the backyard porch and the different shades of red in the brick along the side of the house, and how those shades changes when you applied water to them to draw as a child. I also remembered all of the hugs of my family-- the excitement and joy from Eric, the silliness and adoration from Brian, the all-encompassing one from Kate, the pureness and wholeness from my Mom, the sweetness and tenderness from my Dad. Slipping back into routine was easy, as I listened to the box fan in my window to my left and gazed at the dollar store glow-in-the-dark universe above my head.
Cape May Arcade
The tactile aspects of places that I visited are memories that are hard to recreate and remember if you're not around them all the time. I loved watching my feet sink into the sand as the warm Atlantic washed over them. The feeling of a hot campfire blazing the hairs off my legs during an August night as I listened to friends' voices again for the first time in a long time. The sensation of jumping into the brackish, cold water of a bay only to swim quickly for relief as I shivered and felt goosebumps on my arms for the first and only time during the hot weeks I was there. The pure and overwhelming sensation of holding my dear friends' child for the first time as I felt what could only be described as unconditional love and happiness for the child, my friend, and her husband.
Sand Dune Tracks
I loved being back home, but I also love being back in Victoria. Every time I said the word "home," I felt split between two worlds. I don't think it's fair to only label one place as home, for the guilt in mentioning that Victoria was my home or the awkwardness of labeling a place where I don't live as home shouldn't be as guilty or awkward as it was. I feel like I can make any place a home, even if it's only for a night, if I'm with Jon and if I try enough, and for now that works for me.
Kicking Ass and Taking Names