It is a big day. We sign papers, settle accounts, are given keys, leave with a new home. When I was entering fourth grade we moved, not far—just around the corner. Soon our children will enter fourth grade and they too will move, not far—just around the corner. Will they look back one day with longing at faded photos, as if captured from a dream, to home?
Google’s anonymous photographer recorded my long ago home on an October day in 2008. I was there on an October day in 2008. Turn just beyond the first fence, but before the mailbox and my mother is there. She is waiting for me under the mimosa tree on the cement pad we call the veranda. She has been waiting for some time, my arrival delayed. Jessie, my no-mannered sister dog, gallops out bellowing her greeting. She and I go way back, to her beginning in my neighbor’s backyard in Chicago and her eventual journey by semi-truck with a driver who feared dogs, to her charmed adopted life in the country. My mother, per usual, apologizes for the mess and declares that I really must help her sort it out. When our welcome home ritual is complete the silence of the shift is palpable. Daddy is gone, seven months now, and the heaviness of loss is still so new that sometimes I cannot breath amidst the shard sharp stabs of grief. Our combined troubles are in full unfold and will unravel more in the years to come. The entwine of the family of origin umbilicus will wrap me in a chrysalis from which I think I may never again emerge. On that day in October 2008, I have yet to fully know the enormity of all that lay ahead. Here on the other side of that abyss—of those vanished years—I still do yearn for home, that one, and the one I choose today.