I am homesick, but not for the typical things you think of when feeling homesick. This traveling life has some incredible perks that make great social media picture posts, but there is a downside. I have the privilege of exploring new areas all the time. Rarely do I do the same things twice. Sure I work to find my routine spots for coffee, running, yoga, wine, and hiking. That adds a routine or a bit of a known to an unknown place. Home is completely different. I get settled, but I still miss the feeling of home that takes time to create. Every new location requires reestablishing home over and over again. After much thought, I realize that feeling is also found within relationships and within your own heart. Yet sometimes I just need a friend who is safe and loving to be by my side and hold my hand in real life!
This week brought with it a new realization; the feeling of home is also found in the relationships of our youth. My very best friend from middle and high school, Melanie, passed away unexpectedly this week. My heart just broke wide open. In the midst of trying to find my current sense of home, one from my past exploded. Melanie was the friend that brought out the best in me as well as exemplifying crazy loving joy, an obsession for new music, a sense of style that is insulated from the opinion of others, and the ability to have fun with the written word. When I was cleaning out my attic before I set sail on this nomadic life I found our old notebooks, letters, and folders. We grew up in the era of note writing, phone calls, sleepovers, hanging out in malls, and mixed tapes.
The way we kept up with events of the day, thoughts and interests were through notebook and folders. To be crafty we would hand off the notebook in between classes and act as though it was homework or studies of some sort. It certainly was a form of studies just not the ones being taught in the classroom. I can’t tell you how many notes from her that are disguised in the form of class work. If you were to walk by her in class you would swear it was the work assigned by the teacher. Rereading those notes and journals brought back so many amazing times. She once sent me a map of a mall from a small town she visited in the summer. It was hilarious as she wrote all of the comments to each store and what it lacked. At that time in our lives before driving we would have lived at the mall if our parents would have allowed us. I am an early bird by nature. When I would sleep over at Melanie’s house she would reluctantly get up with me so we could have breakfast at McDonald’s that required us to walk about a mile. We always had music playing in our boom box along the journey. You could hear us blasting Depeche Mode, Howard Jones, and Yaz. I have listened to our old music all week. Sometimes there are tears and other times there is howling laughter remembering our shenanigans.
Life changed after we started driving. We would drive all over town looking for the “party” that never existed. I bet we put 100,000 miles on our cars during those 3 years of high school driving. We had multi-tasking down to an art in the car. Drive, eat, smoke, play music and change the tape all at one time while the passenger was doing the same thing and telling a story of the day. We would pick each other up for school 45 minutes early so we could just be together, smoke and listen to music. In so many ways Melanie was home to me. We shared a time in our lives that shaped part of who we are today. Not having her on the planet anymore hurts in a surprising way.
Our lives were conjoined for 7 years. There was not a day that did not go by that we did not speak in some way. Adult life happened and we drifted apart due to not living near one another. I got busy being an adult with marriage and motherhood. She waited about 15 years to start that part of adult life. Her beautiful children were born as my daughter was spreading her wings in adult life. We were simply flip-flopped from college on. We met up again about 3 years ago. We picked up exactly where we left off. The only difference was we longer smoked; we could legally drink and had money to afford good wine. We drove around our old party searching route, spoke of our old and new lives while enjoying each other’s company. From that point forward we would share new music, text encouraging words and share great laughs. Selfishly I am sad that I can no longer call up Melanie when I need a dose of home. I was gifted with her daily presence in my life as a teenager, and am forever grateful to have had Melanie in my life in the way that I did. My heart goes out to her beautiful children and husband who lost her, for I can not imagine that devastation on a day to day basis.
Missing the feeling of HOME,