a place of my own

“Hovering Hank” – Roos Fopma

When I was little, I never really understood what my father did for a living. I know now that that’s the reason why I’m homeless.

We moved four times between four different states, my parents and I, and each time I’d lose something in the boxes.I remember the first time was when I was ten. We had unpacked every single box in our new house in Louisville, and not even my mom could find my copy of Where The Wild Things Are. She bought me a new copy eventually, but I’ve lost that one too now. My room didn’t feel the same. My mom also got me a newJurassic Park poster, but I couldn’t see it properly when I went to bed.

Three years later we moved again, to the west coast this time. My new room was bigger but I didn’t need the space. Downstairs the kitchen had those fancy appliances that make everything automatically at the press of a button, so dinner lost my mother’s touch. Or so I felt; she was happy to save herself the effort. She didn’t even bother getting new cookbooks after she lost her old ones during the move.

After that, we moved to Columbus, Georgia, and after that to New York, for my last year of high school. It’s not fun hanging around high school seniors who had known each other for years or trying to get a date for prom. We had an apartment this time, which would have been a nice change if I had liked it. A few of my boxes went unpacked, from California, to Georgia, to New York. At some point I got tired of packing and unpacking. Might as well save myself the trouble. I still lost some stuff. An alarm clock, a pair of swim shorts, two scrapbooks, this black marble sphere Martha had given me, the size of my fist. Martha was my girlfriend in Columbus, sort of.

My room in New York didn’t have posters or bookshelves or a clock. Just a few messy, open boxes by the window. I hung out at the park most of the time anyway. I had a nice view, but it was always either too hot or too cold.

Thing is, I didn’t feel comfortable anywhere. I was never relaxed, not even when alone. I realized a few years later that I never had a proper home, a place of my own to just sit down and do whatever, however I liked.

After high school I moved to my own place, and last year I moved again. But by then I had realized I wouldn’t find a way to feel like I was home anywhere, because that feeling had never been known to me.

George Carlin said that homelessness should be called houselessness because home is an abstract idea, so I’m homeless in my house.

It feels queer telling all this to a stranger, but I guess it’s better this way. This way, I know I won’t miss you.