A workmate told me yesterday that, at some point, she will end up living where her sister and brother do. Right now, that’s Austin, Texas. But, it could be anywhere.
Really? I asked. Like, you’d move anywhere to be near them, even it was a place you despised?
Yeah, it’s just the way it has to be; it’s the way I want it to be, she responded nonchalantly. Plus, place is place, to her. Any place is fine.
For me, that way of thinking is downright revolutionary. Place is my thing. It’s what I think about first. Though, as I near 30 years old, could that be changing?
When my mother bustled around dealing with our tropical fevers in the Dominican Republic and how to get clean water, her brothers were back in homeland Chicago living drama lives that she only learned about later. While my grandparents moved around the world, my father was in college, not really sure where his parents were, or when they’d be in touch. That said, my nuclear family is incredibly close. My brothers are like my limbs. One lives in LA; the other in Bali. I miss them, but I’m used to the idea of not always being with them, or not always being with my parents. Hence…. my obsession with the concept of family members in one location, one landscape, one place, where the young come back after they’ve wandered and the old grow to know the cracks in the sidewalk, the particular hue of a thunderstorm, the smell of the air. Where knowledge and love get passed back and forth in a place that seeps into your bones, no matter what kind of place it is, no matter your inclinations.
I’d like to think that I’d permanently move to the flat fields of Nebraska or the pollution bustle of Tokyo if my brothers were locked into life there, but I don’t know…
Does home = family? Or a broader community? Or a place that makes your whole being light up?