Home in the Abstract

Breona - Altoona, Iowa
Entered on September 19, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

“It’s like you get homesick for this place that doesn’t exist. . . Maybe that’s all family really is— a group of people that miss the same imaginary place.”

~Garden State

Home is not a perfect house in a perfect neighborhood with a neat, perfect fence. Home is not where I grew up (although it was at one point). Home was a gray-blue house on the corner at the bottom of a hill. My friends lived across the street from me, and we indulged ourselves in childish games. Now this home boasts a tan color and is in uniform to the other houses lining the street. My friends now, for the most part, live miles away, and I must drive to see them. I believe home is an abstract idea: a group of friends, an experience, multiple places, a movie, a book, anything.

I first discovered home existed in other places when I walked into the new coffee house three years ago. The name explained it all, Being There, which the owner explains as “the ideal atmosphere of a coffee shop. . . a place where one can just simply be.” I walked in to find walls that were a warm orange-yellow color with crimson trim. Quotes lined the walls in random places provoking thought and possible philosophical discussion. Nowhere I had ever been compared to the feeling this place offered me. Coming from a relatively small town that was growing steadily, I never even knew these kinds of places existed.

It felt like home, but it was a new experience of home. It was non judgmental and accepted the presence of anyone. I felt more at home there than I did in my actual house with my parents and older brother. On Friday nights there’s live music. Bands come to express themselves in a more intimate setting and talk to their fans (old and new). I work at this coffee house now, and I feel very fortunate to work at a place I can call home.

Finding home is not difficult—at least it hasn’t been for me. I’ve found solace in other things besides that coffee house. The first book I ever read that felt like home was Hard Love. That book made me feel more comfortable with myself than any friends I had at the time. The first time I came across this book was about three or four years ago. It was a time of transition for me. I was changing and trying to find who I am.

The two main characters, John (or Gio) and Marisol, were two of the weirdest people I’d ever been introduced to. Marisol, at least, knew who she was, and she was comfortable with that person. I admired her and made it my goal to become like that. I wanted to achieve a sense of home within myself. I related to John well because his parents were divorced, his relationship with his father was shaky, and his mom was getting re-married. I was in a similar situation and it helped me feel a little more sane.

These things have inspired me to keep searching for this feeling called home. My home isn’t completely built yet. Its frame has started, but I’m still rearranging and making everything perfect. I’m constantly looking for new things I can add. My home and who I am are unique to me and are different from anyone else’s. When I buy my first house I will incorporate all of these things that have ever made me feel at home.