I met a friend on the street the other day. I saw her from the distance, shopping bags in her arms, iPod headphones white against her black coat and probably lost in her everchanging world of who got married last weekend and what new club is opening the next Friday. I could tell she also saw me, when her lips drew back in a big smile which uncovered her teeth, which she had got whitened at this dentist whom she met in a bar some time ago. I knew all that because she hadn´t spared any details when we talked on the phone last time.
A “Hi, my dear!” came along with the pouting of the lips. “Oh you always look so serious and lost in your thoughts. Do you have a new boyfriend and didn´t spill yet? We have to go for a coffee next week and tell me all about it. Ah, I forgot again, you don´t drink coffee. Damn it, I´m late for my dentist appointment, but I will chat for a sec with you. Where are you coming from?” So much information I had no chance to react upon. But her memory reminded me why I liked so much chatting with her. “I´m coming from my place actually, I needed to go out a bit, no special reason”. A few words were the best chance I had with her. “Oh, dear, you really need to get out more, even though I have to admit your home is just lovely. But especially now, when…”
A word she said focused my attention in an instant. Home. This was her word, not mine. I had said “my place”. That simple 4-letter word has somehow managed to see its way out of my vocabulary. I wondered whether I should read the dictionary without music in the background. A poor shot at a joke, for deep down in my conscience I knew I lost the feeling of being home years ago, when I left for university.
Leaving my parents´house at 18 was something which seemed normal to me, long awaited and in various circumstances imagined. After such a long time being tied to a single house, a single place drew the need for freedom out of me. Little did I know then that freedom was a state of spirit, not of space. Moving in a dorm room with another 4 girls in that very same room was the wildest thing I could imagine. No parents, no curfew and most importantly, people around me with whom I could talk, talk and talk until their mouth started to hurt. The first two years were bliss but then heaven came into existence. A dorm room with another 3 girls in that same room. Privacy in the weekend started to become more and more important. No, not for studying the Maths coursebook.
But my hometown was still so close, just an hour away of driving. When the opportunity arose, I didn´t wait too long to make a decision. Cluj was becoming too small for me, a girl who silenced the voice of poetry by turning up the volume on reason. I had followed then a job offer which landed me straight in Timisoara, the big city which could only open the road to all the lights and promises of Europe. I started to make new friends and the relationship with my boyfriend started to look up. But because everything must come to an end, so did my excitement with this new city. Romania was becoming too small for me, a girl who traded her country for the western materialism. Things were turned upside down, but I was too preoccupied with finding a manufactured freedom to realize it.
I think it is then when I forgot the meaning of home. There is no such thing as home when life is drained of passion, love and beauty, when search and purpose are just empty words. I didnt´t have these things to sell them, so I sold my knowledge for a new job, a new city, a new country. A new beginning. The novelty of life sparked a new sense of life in my veins, the so-many-times-redefined freedom was finally mine. Now I have financial security, I have a house, I have a freaking big TV and plans for future trips. Prosperity at work, prosperity in the personal life, dreams to become so much more. But somehow I´m missing something in this new and shiny life. Something which needs only some brushing.
And that simple talk with my friend on the streets of Ingolstadt brought all my senses into focus. Why was I using euphemisms? Why was I blind to see that now I feel l´m back on the main road, that the purpose lies there, in the horizon? And this simple 4-letter word has now a definition and even a few synonyms. The wandering though life, the roaming through various beds and cities is over. I have my passion and my love back, the smiles spark in my eyes, the sun is shining again. I am happy, but sometimes too busy to realize it. Home is not my place, home is where my passion lies, home is where my dear ones walk in house shoes.
“Diana? Hellooo? I´m asking if you like my new sunglasses.” The sun was shining, I needed my own sunglasses. “Sorry, this sun just came out of nowhere, it´s hurting my eyes a bit. I think I´m gonna go back home and fetch my own.”
*Photo by courtesy of Ana Toma.