A Letter to Home from My New One
Dear Mom and Dad,
I bought an old wooden ladder from a flea market last week and placed it near my fireplace. Mom, you’ll have to tell me what color paint to use. Dad, your old letterman’s jacket is hanging from the top step. It’s nearly falling apart but I can still wear it. The jacket, I mean—not the ladder. But like the ladder, some days I feel like I’m falling apart.
I won’t fabricate how homesick I am while writing this. Mom, you still remind me of those coloring books I had growing up every time I call. You remind me how my left-handedness was a gift from God but not so much a gift when it came to practicing staying in-between the lines.
Can you mail me one of those coloring books, please?
And please mail me some more pens. I keep losing them. A friend told me today that objects don’t carry secrets—we do. Why is it then that the pens I carry the longest—the ones with the plastic tips gnawed off and the rubber grips faded—seem to trigger stronger memories?
I’ve been connecting the mountains here to my own memories, my emotional landscape: enchanted trails located in coarse terrain. I think about beauty and how I don’t believe it can exist without pain and how painful it is to capture the beauty of this new home on a piece of paper.
Which brings me to your question, Dad. How’s the writing? I’m just taking it one day at a time, I guess. I’m roughly patching pieces of life into my characters. My characters are all extensions of my internal psychic reality, however patchy right now. I say “patchy” because I’ve had to relocate pieces of my life I left behind. Sometimes I choke a little on the fear of never understanding certain parts of me. The parts got lost somewhere during the thousand-mile journey over here, but some found their way to my doorstep. Claimed baggage, I guess.
Wherever you go, there you are.
Dad, that doesn’t help. I didn’t realize until I moved out here how much of you resides within me. You too, Mom. But I realize now that I don’t actually miss the physical home I grew up in but more so the home that dwells deep inside of me that I can’t seem to access. I keep coming back to these two lines in my journal:
There’s no place like home.
Home: there’s no place.
Do you think I should keep the ladder? It’s very old. Why is it I’m now accustomed to rustic looks and constant decay? I feel sorry for the ladder, even. If I sanded it down, primed it, and coated it with semi-gloss, it wouldn’t be transformed in my eyes. I’d see a ladder I just tried to fix. One that didn’t need to be fixed. Why is it I’m still hell-bent on fixing myself, you think?
That’s what it all comes down to out here: a lot of resurfacing on my part. Digging though my past and digging through the page. I fear the minute I finally discover my past—at least one vestige of it—I’ll have to pack up and move again. There’s no doubt my time here will fly.
With that, I guess I’ll string a rope light over the ladder and call it a day.
Talk to you soon.