Home is where the heart is. Sitting in his apartment, I could smell the incense he had burned before my arrival. There are moments I promised I would never forget and there are words that clang to my mind. Funny how you can feel love with several people, but the experience is always different. Walking beside him, hand in hand, my little heart was energized by his touch. I giggled uncontrollably, happy as could be. We sat on a bench by the river, flirty, nervous, and teasing each other. Oh a scene I used to replay in my head so many times, or the tears he saw on my face when I had left the airport, just a teenage girl then. Walking along his side I had wished to always stand beside him, oblivious that I would grow to desire someone else, but always grateful that he was the first to steal my heart.
Photographs will capture the moments you want to remember, but the heart will capture the memories a camera could never take. In my years between ages 5 and 22, I have been blessed to feel love in the deepest ways. From the rose that he broke off a bush and gave me, just a boy then, to the ferris wheel ride at the National Harbor, as adults. In the life of a Third Culture Kid, we learn to say goodbye, perhaps all too well. A smile on my face, I always knew that upon departure I could always cherish new memories that I did not have before my arrival.
As a woman with the innate desire to be a mother, I stared at him, not with pity, but with the desire to heal and protect. A heart so giving should be mended and guarded by angels; he deserved it. Perhaps I always wanted to be his silent angel to save him from his own thoughts. Or, I just wanted to be a spectator in the crowd, cheering him on as the years of life gave him patience and wisdom. To see a man I love grow beyond his perceived impossibilities would be rewarding and fascinating. On the other hand, I sit awake late in the night wondering if maybe it was me that he was trying to protect, acting as my guiding star throughout my last three years crossing borders abroad and in the homeland. His arms wrapped around me, I could have remained immobile for days at a time, in total awe of comfort. Rubbing his back in his sleep, I wished him all the peace in the world. In my 22 years of existence, I had never touched a man with such desire to protect him, my instinct as I observed him, peacefully vulnerable, was to guard him with everything I had. But we all know a heart is hard to guard and a scar heals only slowly. I never wanted to leave and giving an easy choice I would have made the capital my home.
As every TCK knows, there comes a time when the timer goes off and you depart again to another adventure: a day when you ride away into a future of spontaneity and uncertainty with a dash of hope. The moments ahead are not promised to be bright or dark, nor are they promised to exist. However, your suitcase will carry memories, the great and the regrettable, and you will use them as building blocks should the future ever come. You fly into an abyss of clouds, not all too sure if you’ll ever touch back down to the ground level or remain among the beautiful castles in the sky and sunrises above the horizon. One thing is sure, love will always feel amazing, but never the same way. Typing from a new home, I know now that life will always change and for that I am grateful. However, that said, home will always feel the same, but his arms around me may hold me differently.
Perception blinds and enlightens the eye. What beautiful juxtaposition! Love guides the mind. What an illogical decision maker! The past carries false hope. What bluntly expressed reality!
The door opened, followed by a creak, I stepped foot in a forgotten land, a foreign piece of earth. Welcome home, she said, what brings you here?
This small creation, a home with a building foundation.