I just registered my son's birth in Dublin, and now I'm sitting in the bowels of the Arts block in Trinity. I used to sit here, in what feels like another lifetime. There's a warren of lecture theatres and sitting-places, and I used to hide down here, where I couldn't see whether it was day or night, and do whatever it was I wanted to do when I was on my own — usually, reading, writing, sleeping or meditating. On a good day, in an orgy of solitude, I might stay here for hours. I remember waking up once from a meditation that became a nap, having just had a dream in which I was reading burning words on a page; those words then became a poem, which I probably lost later on. I remember another time being down here and crying because my girlfriend had dumped me. Another, earlier time, I came down here to meet her and gave her a flower.
Flying back to Dublin for the day has been an odd experience. I grew up here, I lived here with Jo for the last year, and I've only been in Yorkshire for just over a month, and yet when I was on the coach on the way from the airport to the city centre, all I could think about was getting back there. I felt homesick for the first time I can ever remember since I was a child, and I think that means that for the first time since I was a child, I feel like I have a home. Having a family has changed me in some very profound ways that I'm only beginning to discover, accidentally, when wondering why I'm feeling or thinking certain things.
My best friend Paul was visiting with us for the last 3 days in Yorkshire, and asked me one morning when I started whistling so much. I wasn't aware of whistling any more or less than usual, so I couldn't answer. Then he said that one thing he's noticed, having known me for 8 years, is that I whistle when I'm happy. Later on we were talking about our respective situations (he's just quit his job and is going to spend the next 4 months on the Brazilian coast working in a kitchen and surfing). I said, and realized as I was saying it that it was true, that I didn't want to be anywhere else other than where I am right now. This is a remarkable thing for me, because for as long as I can remember, I've never been fully happy where I was. There has always been somewhere else that I wanted or needed to be, or something else that I wanted to do. If this isn't so any more, it's one of the most amazing things that has ever happened to me, and it crept up on me without my noticing.
I've been hanging around Dublin and I can't identify with the person who used to call it home all those years ago. I feel a huge gulf between myself and the boy who brought his girl a flower in the arts block and then cried when she dumped him. I'll be in Dublin until evening, then I get the coach back to the airport and fly over to Leeds Bradford airport where Jo is going to pick me up, and Joshua will be with her, and we'll all go home.