11 December 2007

the streets of my hometown (quote)

I was driving this early this morning, in the dark, in the rain, down the main street of my (U.S.) hometown. Buchanan, Liberia, will always be my first hometown, but this city is where I learned to drive, where I had my first job, where my parents were born and raised, and where I come for the holidays. Surely that qualifies it as one of my hometowns.

So I was driving down the main street downtown, in the dark, in the rain, and I was suddenly aware of how very many times I’ve driven that stretch of road, beginning when I turned sixteen, when I worked at a bakery downtown and I had to drive there early on fall mornings, in the dark, in the rain, to open the store on Saturdays. During and after university, I worked with emotionally impaired kids, often starting at 7 a.m. I drove that road from our old house, and again from our new house after my parents moved. It is the beginning of the stretch of road that remained the same, wherever I started.

It runs past the hotels and the restaurants and the shops. It is five or six lanes wide, but only for a little while. A stubby road.

I drove, and I parked, and I went in to hang out with lawyers, again. I’m trying to learn. I watch, and I ask questions of whoever will answer them. As we stood around, waiting for something to happen, I looked out at the rain falling on the snow and realized how very long it will be, in another place, before I can again say something like what I said today: “Was it the winter of ’98-’99 that it snowed 24 inches in 24 hours?”

You can only say things like that when you stay in one place for a while. I never do. Not in the last five years. Not even really in the last ten. I feel at home in many places, but I have few (no?) real homes.

1 comment:

Monday's Child said...

I hear you.