When I was 18, I hated her. She was comfortable and familiar, and I got used to her but in the way that you get used to a limp. I wanted to leave her so badly, and when I finally got a break at college, I couldn’t wait to come screaming back. “Remember me?! I’ve changed. I’ve outgrown you.”
I’m twenty-five now, and I miss her. I remember her familiar curves, her radiating warmth and her distancing cold. I don’t want to go back to her. But my heart breaks when we’re forced apart.
On Tuesday morning, I sat at my parents’ breakfast table, far away from my childhood home, but not so far that her hold on me wasn’t achingly apparent. My mom packed up her bag for the day and I spooned cereal between my quivering lips. I started to cry. "I feel like I'm in third grade again," I whimpered. "Don't make me go to school, mom, I want to stay home."
I know that there are great things waiting for me out there. I am destined to be successful, as a chef, as a writer, as an eater, as an editor, or maybe as something I haven’t even considered yet. But part of me wants to slink back home to the predictability and comfort of friends who have known me since I was ten years old and love me whether I am an exacerbated version of myself, or not myself at all. Part of me wants to buy a car and move into a cheap apartment in the middle of streets I could traverse with my eyes closed. I want to sink down into the cushion of home.
I used to tell myself that there was another home out there for me. I’d learn to love a different city with different people, and I’d create a better life of my own, instead of claiming one that had already been created for me.
I’m not sure why I want her back. All I know is that I do.