How shocked I was when he told me, mentioned in passing he had moved to the suburbs, as casual as if he had bought a new shirt. As usual, he felt no need for justifications. He was matter-of-fact in his telling, but you could have knocked me flat with a swipe from the proverbial feather. The self-professed urbanite, lover of tall buildings and bars within stumble-home distance, traded in his T pass for a yard and a patch of asphalt driveway? O snubber of suburbs, o turner-up-of-a-delicate-nose at all things remotely reeking of strollers and swing sets and subprime mortgages, can it really be? Friends and co-workers who deigned steer their U-Haul towards the wild blue fairly-near yonder were met with a haughty sneer, as he grew increasingly adamant about never joining their ranks. If anything, he said, he would want to move downtown, where it's gritty and noisy and you need a realtor to get a parking space. He'd move into a huge loft apartment, made out of a converted factory or office building or his pipe dream, a church, and he'd live like a monk (only without the whole abstinence thing): a bed. A table. A painting. Stark and empty and severe, rattling around in his urban oasis as the horns go off below him.
It sounded like hell, and I told him so. A flare of his nostrils, and perhaps he was thinking, just another reason we're not right for each other. And then, the end, and with no one to call his bluff, he moved to the suburbs, where the buffalo roam, and single family home-dwellers are chained to their gas-electric automobiles, and the skies are not cloudy all day.
I re-trace the same paths I have been walking for years, and I can still feel everything I have ever felt as I walked them, all in a rush, one sweetsourbittersweet burst of emotion. My house to the T. The T to his house. The overnight bag on my shoulder, the exhilaration and sweet anticipation of going to see the someone I love. The fatigue, the stress, the niggling nag of frustration at having to pack a bag to see the someone I love. Loving, but wanting all at once. O give me a home...
His house, his former house, remains silent, of course, and I continue on my way. Then I am not-home, fumbling with unfamiliar keys, and I enter, again, into someone else's life. I play with someone else's dog and I sleep in someone else's bed. Where seldom is heard...anything, really, but the occasional light snoring of the dog.
Now, I don't give a damn about the deer and the antelope, but o, give me a home.