This is a photo of a place in which I used to dwell. It wasn't perfect. We didn't own it. At the time it was home and it was all we thought we needed. There was a courtyard in which we gathered and feasted, two spots of earth I planted flowers and hung hammocks and trained roses. When it rained, the drops gathered in the uneven bricks, creating small lakes in which the birds would later bathe. We could sit underneath the little patio and watch the drops fall like mercury from the flat, poorly sealed roof. Windows opened through ivy, screen popped out and stray cats would appear in the living room. The kitchen - o the kitchen! - had a curved doorway out of brick, a floor of uneven slate, a bar, and more cabinet space, counter space, than any place we'd lived before.
We thought we'd be happy there for years.
Then the management changed. The air conditioning went out and we roasted at 85 degrees in the sweltering, Southern summer while being told there was "nothing wrong" with the unit. The outbuilding was rented to another tenant and we had to put up with strangers rambling through the gate at will, regardless of if we were entertaining friends or relaxing in the hammock. Palmetto bugs swooped in through the windows and fluttered from the exposed pipes while we chased them around with a flimsy flyswatter.
Perspective shifted. It was time to move on.
I grow homesick for this place of my memory. At times, I wish we'd stuck it out, fought for better air units and learned to live with the constant intrusions. Deep down, I know that's against my private nature. We left the loft and went on to another place before leaving that city for good. Each move, each shift has seemed perfect until reality sets in and the gloss of new found freedom rubs off.
...each of these places is a part of me. A part of my history. My mythology. I cannot go back but it is also impossible to move forward with taking into account all the places I've been. The road lies before me shrouded; I can see but a few steps in front of me. There are goals, there are dreams and I know in what direction I am headed.
Still I carry with me every place I've ever lived.
Still I carry with me every place I've ever been.
This is part of an ongoing, personal writing project titled A Pilgrimage of Place : a Deeper Look at the Things We Carry. To read more, search the Labels "a Pilgrimage of Place", "The Things we Carry", or "Personal Mythology.