I’ve written before about the human inclination to attach their sense of home to belongings. I’ve also mentioned missing my Pyrex bowls and vintage quilts. I found it so hard to part with my antique books, framed prints, and blankets while packing up my New Jersey apartment last May. And I found it hard to live without them, in my single bedroom in someone else’s house in Blackawton, last September.
I’ve been back in the US for more than two months, however, and it’s only my mom’s and my imminent move into an apartment that’s making me finally sort through my boxed belongings, stored in my brother’s closet. The past few days have seen me hold my Pyrex up to the light of day and discover that I don’t have any interest in them anymore. I’ve lived without them for seven months. In fact, I lived more fully and well than I did when I owned them. I traveled, laughed, conversed, was provoked and comforted, held and loved, entertained and heard, intrigued and satisfied, as I never have before.
In JFK’s immortal words, ask not what you can do for your Pyrex, but what your Pyrex can do for you. In this case, my answer is, “Not much.” I didn’t need them to feel at home. I needed the twins, sticking their faces in mine to examine my eye makeup. Uke, to ply me with chai and talk about hippies. My family and friends back home, to continue being themselves. Most of all, I needed Marcus.
I discovered this as my weeks in Devonshire passed. After an uninterrupted nine hours with three small children, five o’clock would break, my boss would emerge from her office to take over the task of getting peas and mash into talkative mouths, and I would run downstairs. I would replace sweats and a food-stained shirt with a skirt and ruffly top, fix up my makeup, throw a pair of undies and socks in a big bag, and walk out to the driveway to watch the cows across the road and wait for the 5:56pm bus to Totnes.
On August 17, two days before flying to England, I wrote about emotional homes…
If home is who you’re with, and not where you live, then I have many wonderful homes, around the world. Holiday homes, vacation homes, cabins in the woods, cabanas by the sea, chateaus in the mountains. That’s a lovely thought.
Lovelier still would be to find a heart I could call my permanent home.
It never occurred to me I’d find him so soon.
So I don’t really need my Pyrex anymore.