catapult magazine

catapult magazine

Vol 9, Num 20 :: 2010.11.05 — 2010.11.18


Human homebodies

I can’t find a way to look you that doesn’t tell you that I love you.  And that, now, is all I can ever remember wanting to do with my life.  

When we were children, my sister and I would go cross-country skiing in the neighbor’s field behind our house.  And my sister would always bring the dog along, even though he made her fall every time.  We would ski until we heard a shot across the field, a hopeful attempt to kill a deer, and then we would just go home, because dad said it was dangerous, and we were his children after all. 

On the way back, we would have something to look at, not simply a white field, interrupted by a black forest, meeting a white sky.  We would look at the town where we grew up, at the tree where we lost mom’s Chinese kite, late childhood summer.  We would look at George and Ruth’s house and know that they were happy, even though Ruth had Lupus and nothing comes easy.  I could see my father’s church and the cut yellow corn stalks poking out of the snow’s white blanket.  We could always move in each other’s tracks, heading home.

The last time you and I went cross-country skiing you said you hated the way the snow crunched under your skis.  The camera you were using had a light leak, and none of the pictures would turn out anyways.  You said you just wanted go home.  And so we did, and that was okay with me. We could look at the sky, warm from sunset and its colors, at the tree that got struck by lightning a few weeks ago. I can stare at George and Ruth’s yellow house and know that it will always be a shame you never got to meet her. You can see the steeple of my father’s church, because some things never change. He’ll always let us follow in these tracks, heading home.  

There is no distance or direction like home to leave the only kind of legacy that ever really matters.  I could never be anything better than the strides home. And by the time anyone loops back there, back to the home only someone who chose it can ever know, it is always-already a different place. There stands to be a million directions to move, and all of them somehow worth moving; a million people to love, and all of them somehow worth loving; a million places to claim, and all of them somehow worth calling “home.”  

We make home and we run from home.  And we make another home, always, somehow, in each other.  Now I can always, forever say: I have chosen a home, in you.  We change and we grow, and our kites get lost and our trees get struck by lightning. We get distracted and lost, and we get Lupus and children, but we always find some way to move, toward home.  

Home is the only legacy, now, that I can ever remember wanting to leave with my life.

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