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Gypsies and Band-Aids

July 24, 2012

There are a handful of things I value above everything else. Of course, family tops the list, but close behind are my friends. Some of those friends I’ve had my whole life. Those people take up a very special corner of my heart. Those people are home. Home Base. The place you’re safe, where no one can tag you and make you “it”. And when you’re from as far out in the sticks as me, Home Base is a lot like its own Universe.

Those people are all that’s left of “home” for me. My momma passed away, my dad and brother moved with their jobs. Someone else lives in the house I grew up in. For someone as obsessed with the idea of home as much as I am, very precious little in my life remains there. Hell, even those home-base-friends have scattered. Regardless, I’ve always seen us in the same circle. The circle was just much larger, filled in with spouses and children.

I’ve been gone from home for a long time. Since 1993 when three of us got married the same summer. I was fortunate to move back for a brief stint, but soon we hitched up our gypsy wagon and were on the road again. I thought it was great fun. Cute apartments that we moved out of before the carpets got dirty, decorating, new places to go and things to do. Relocating was just a fact of the job and it suited our twenty-somethings perfectly. Anyhow, I still had my friends from home. It was all good.

Looking back now, I’m not sure I made more than two or three long-term friends for at least five years. But that was okay. I was still part of that thing greater than myself and I suppose, looking back, that I clung to that notion and those friends even though I was slipping through the cracks.

Our stop in North Carolina turned out to be the longest we ever sat still, but before long we were gone again and let me tell you, Southwest Missouri is a long, long way from home. But, lo, the advent of Facebook, a fine fine way to deceive yourself into thinking you are part of something that you no longer belong to. I did that. I allowed status updates and emails convince me that I was still some distant sun to those home planets, long since spinning in their own orbit. I only just realized that I spin in a completely different galaxy.

Home: “Are you going to the get-together at the lake this weekend?”
Me: “What get-together?”
Home: “The Home Planet Get-Together. It’s always the last weekend in July.”
Me: “Errr … No.”

And it was just like that. Like cutting your finger while slicing tomatoes. It took a few seconds for the acid to sink in.

When we left Missouri, I was heart-broken. So were the kids. I told them not to worry, that they’d always have those friendships if they worked at it. “Look at me. I still have the same friends from when I was your age. It will be fine, fine, fine, fine, fine.”

I need to revisit that and tell them to work harder. To spend less time boasting about having life-long friends and more time being a life-long friend.

At the end of June, after a long trip to the beach and a stop in Atlanta to visit PA friends who moved earlier in the year, we stopped in North Carolina where Kayla had a surprise Sweet Sixteen with the friends she had from Kindergarten – third grade, when we moved. Four of them. It was emotional for me and (now) I have to wonder how long I’ve known that I no longer belong to something like that.

Probably a lot longer than the two days I’ve been thinking about it.

Third day. Ripping off the Band-Aid.

Hurts like a mother fucker.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. imagineannie permalink
    July 24, 2012 6:51 am

    Since I live, again, in my “home place” I can’t imagine being so far from it. I have been, for long periods, but I’ve always come back. I do less well with old friends, though, falling into the Facebook Trap and thinking that counts as “time together.” It doesn’t. I mourn for you, I offer homemade comfrey salve for the place where the Bandaid came off, and I am inspired to go make some REAL contact with the people who are “home” to me as much as the town I live in.

  2. July 24, 2012 7:39 am

    Look at my FB profile. Hometown is blank. Home truly is where the heart is and your heart has made its own home in your friends. You have made your nest in the boughs of your friends’ arms and, in my opinion, you are richer for it. Remember the Girl Scout song? “Make new friends and keep the old. One is silver and the other gold.”

    Love you, Annie. Fuck the Bandaid.

  3. Bill S. permalink
    July 24, 2012 9:01 am

    I’m with Julie. I’ve been gone for almost twenty-five years now. Been back a time or three to visit. Stay in touch with a few of my old friends via FB.

    But I’m not going back, because it isn’t home anymore. Home is where my family is, and my family is here. That place I came from? It was different then; it’s changed, and not necessarily for the better. I’ll always have my memories of the old home, which I will not allow to become tarnished by what it has now become.

    Home is wherever you are. And there is always a place in your heart for where you’ve been, and who you’ve loved.

    The “who you’ve loved” part?

    That doesn’t change.

    You’re a marvelous writer, Annie. Your posts always seem like CPR when I need it most.

    Thanks for bringing me back once again. πŸ˜€

  4. July 24, 2012 9:57 am

    home is where your heart is…love u!

  5. Candace Mann permalink
    July 24, 2012 3:56 pm

    it\’s hard to find time to be the best friend you can when you keep making more friends, no matter where they – or you – live. we need more time for the good parts of life, that\’s for sure. don\’t think it\’s your fault \’cuz you\’re the one who moved, btw. i stayed pretty much right here, but some of the people i love best, well, *they* moved. xo

  6. July 24, 2012 5:32 pm

    Home is here in the Brook! Miss you bunches!!

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