Right now I’m wondering if it’s possible to become homesick even though you’re the one who’s still sitting at home? The last few days have found my mind drifting off in all directions, scattered to the winds and every time it snaps back, all the little bric-à-brac and mementoes that we’ve acquired over the years have somehow taken on a new meaning. The memories seem somehow sharper, more ingrained than ever.
I remember back when I had just turned eighteen and was off to Parris Island. After what seemed like an eternity, mail call finally arrived and one of the first letters I got was from a good friend of mine. He was part of what today might be called “the posse”, the group of us who all went to the same school, played on the same teams, dated the same girls, smoked the same weed and drank from the same bottle. At the time, it seemed we had the perfected the art of hanging out and taken it to a new level. We were our own little world and very few outsiders were admitted.
Anyway, it’s been over thirty years and there’s a line from his letter that still burns in my brain to this day. It’s not the words, it’s the sentiments. It went something like this.
”Hey Bob, does us all a favor and mail a piece of the block back with you when you answer this. You took some of it with you when you left and we’d like it back.”
In retrospect, I think that’s the first time I’d ever been told by somebody that I’d been missed. I can’t describe what I felt then, I was too young and too ignorant of what would become of me or what the future held in store for them. Today, all I can do is wax nostalgic and feel that little chill go up my spine when I recall the “good old days”.
It’s now day five of Anna’s little sojourn across the seas and still the phone hasn’t rang and my mail gmail account contains only some spam and a few assorted impersonal messages from headhunters.
Everyday I check to see what the weather is like in Amsterdam. I don’t know why. It isn’t done out of curiosity but more in some backwards attempt to make me feel closer to where she is. It’s a rather small consolation but at least it’s something.
I’m trying to remind myself that the old saying that “no news is good news” holds true. That she’s over there having the time of her life and making new friends that will last her forever. That she hasn’t broken or sprained anything along the way and that she’s getting along well with the rest of her teammates.
A woman who lives down the block from me is a film major at Ohio State. She stopped me as I was running an errand the other day and told me about a film she was making for class and how she thought Anna would be “perfect” for it. I told her she wasn’t due back until the 29th and even then would probably need a few days to get over the jet lag and re-adjust to her surroundings. Instead, I gave her a tape that my kid had made while she was taking acting lessons at the local children’s theater. She’s a lock for the part.
So tonight I’ll go home, make myself some burgers and corn on the cob, put on a movie I won’t pay attention to or stare at the pages of a book without reading them. I’m waiting for the phone to ring and to hear a little voice on the other end say:
To my ears, those two small words will sound like a symphony and maybe just make it feel like home again.