Wednesday, December 30, 2009
You Can't Go Home Anymore
I stepped outside of the house, feeling somewhat bored by the warmth inside. Now there's an idea: being bored of the warmth. What an ideal it is to have right now, as the snow is falling, the temperatures are decreasing, and the bitter cold sets in. Near the end of semester, everyone wants the editing room with the heaters; people huddle around the single heater that is available in the department room.
I pulled the chair, sat down, and started lighting. The smoke billowed against the wind, disappearing altogether into the nothingness of the cold December air. December, still, is it? Sometimes I lose track of times. The Mondays quickly shifted into the Tuesdays, mornings into nights, this year into the next. Soon enough.
I looked at my watch, bearing in mind the number of hours left for them to sleep. Three of them, trawling around the streets of Seoul, now on the verge of returning home. I've decided to sacrifice myself for the greater good, staying awake until the break of dawn. That's so they won't miss the bus, so they won't miss the trip back home.
Home. Lucky bastards, the lot of them.
They get to go back to warm weather, to brilliant, varied and delicious food, to the comforts of their friends and families, to their boyfriends and girlfriends and partners and dogs and cats and...home. A lovely concept, romanticised by its locale being where the heart is. I suppose all this while, their heart is where their home really is.
A dog barked, in the distance. Somewhat menacing, it sounded, the kind that would make the hairs in the back of your neck stand. The kind you'd hear out of nowhere, as you're walking down a dark and quiet street, with only the sounds of your own footsteps as your friend, keeping you company and telling you that, yes, you're not alone. Not yet. Lonely, perhaps, but not alone. And then a dog barks from beyond the steel gate right next to you, and you jump slightly, breath out of rhythm, out of focus, out of touch, cut short by the steam arising from your own mouth. A breath, usually invisible to the naked eye, now a sight seen, shaken by the fear that suddenly instilled itself in the situation.
That kind of bark. It is the bark to scare, to intimidate, with menace. It's done it's job of protecting that home.
Home. I suppose now even that dog has more of a home than I. Its heart and mind's in the right place, but where does that leave me? After the fear subsided, after the moment has passed...where does that leave me? Back where I started, back where I was a moment ago, in a place that is not quite...home.
No, it's is beautiful. Korea is beautiful. London is beautiful. They've all played significant roles in shaping me, in changing me, in forcing me to look at myself in a way that I wouldn't want to look at. Funny, that; outside of the majority I become even more of the majority than I expected myself to be. I became more Muslim, yearn for more Malaysian news, read more about Islam, thought more about how and what I can do to bring about the changes I want.
Of what I can do for my home. But where is it? What is it? The arms of a fractured family? The house of lost memories? The circles of friends and relationships that brings with it the limits, the boundaries, the sense of expectations that no longer applies? A house, building, country, chair, bed it is not. What it is...is the one place that we can all go back to and feel the familiar air. The air smells familiar, the water doesn't taste weird, the sofas doesn't have a funny smell to them. You flinch not at the floor when stepped on with your bare feet, you know what the switches do, and you don't actually want to kill (metaphorically or otherwise) the person next to you.
It's a place where you know everything, where the holes are and where dogs, sleeping or otherwise, lie. Every single nook and cranny.
You can't go home anymore.
That was the title of a Battlestar Galactica episode. It tells of the story of a ragtag fleet, the last remnants of mankind, on their journey to find Earth. A place to call home.
The bitterness of the cold set in once again; it felt as if the temperature dropped a few degrees in just a few minutes. My chest contracted, my body shook involuntarily. Move, move, back into the warmth, the devil tempted me. Come into my embrace, and save yourself, the angel tried. I resisted, letting the claws of winter sink in, clamping me tight within its grip, refusing to let me go. I shut my eyes, letting it make its way all over me, slowly traversing its way up my feet, my arms, all the way to the center of my soul, of my heart. Come in, I said, come in, for this is my heart, this is my mind, my body, my soul, my everything.
This is my home.