The smell of old wood and cigarettes lingers in the air of my memories of home. The knot in my gut and buzz in my skin are the feelings of my first family.
I left that place many times in different manners, first geographically, then emotionally, then psychologically, then philosophically.
But I also carry it with me. I have cleansed my soul of that place many times over, but no matter how clean I ever believe myself to be, I can always smell it. I can smell the indifference in the cigarettes. I can feel the burning in my skin that longs to be touched.
I always worried about being taken care of. Would I get any attention? Would I be remembered? I felt, after a time, that I could disappear pretty easily and no one would notice. So I chose to work hard, to earn the love and attention. I chose to throw myself in to a life I thought I could fill.
Now it is not so much about disappearing as how to exist. It is not a sadness or an emptiness I feel, but a confusion. I work at many different things all day long, things I care about, things that feel heavy and meaningful and filled with purpose. I do things that excite me. I do things that keep me awake.
But in the middle of it, I can feel it. Cold indifference is always there. Most of the time, I can handle it. I can go through the meaty days of my life with this feeling. But I slow down and it catches me. I slow down and it seeps in and transfixes my movement into the world.
My first home. There is no place like it, but somehow, I keep seeing it that way. I recreate the shit that tortures me.
I understand addiction from that point, and it scares me. I can see soaking myself in alcohol to dull that ache, I can feel that fear, that pain softens in to silence with each bottle, or smoke, or bite of cake or shot of heroine. I completely understand that reaction.
At this point, I should be able to leave it. It's been over forty years. I still live it, and in comparison to what others face, it is nothing. It is thin and flimsy and should not have this hold on me. But it does.
There really is no place like home.
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