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When you look into my eyes
And you see the crazy gypsy in my soul
It always comes as a surprise
When I feel my withered roots begin to grow
Well I never had a place that I could call my very own
That's all right, my love, 'cause you're my home

Excerpt from Billy Joel’s fine tune called “You’re My Home”

Growing up, for reasons that were never clearly explained to me, we were always renters. As a matter of fact, my parents rented the same house in Brooklyn, New York for close to thirty five years. I remember that when the first of the month came along, I’d have to run upstairs to the landlord and fork over the rent. It seems that my pops had had a disagreement with her and they hadn’t formally spoken in at least ten of those years. Tough way to live if you ask me…

Anyhow, I had long since departed home and the old lady that lived upstairs finally kicked the bucket. Naturally, the house went her relatives who were all too ready to toss my folks out and collect a windfall by selling the place. Since me and my folks were pretty much on the outs, I wasn’t around to help them move into a small apartment a few blocks away. I wasn’t there to see what memories got tossed and what memories were saved. All I know is that when I finally visited them in their new place, it looked so small and barren.

Come to think of it, so did they.

Maybe they were going through the empty nest syndrome and they wanted to distance themselves or maybe they were just tired of being reminded of days gone by. For the life of me, I’ll never understand their logic and since they’re both long gone, I’ll never get to the bottom of it.

Just one more mystery to contend with…

These days, even though I don’t own a home, I’m still trying to make one. I’d like to say that I’m doing it for myself but ever since Anna came along and we’ve found ourselves pretty much on her own, I know I’m doing it for the both of us.

See, most of her friends and schoolmates all have these huge houses that are furnished with what seems to be every modern convenience known to mankind. Their places are immaculate and there’s not a speck of dust or a thing out of place and the lawn and the backyard are manicured to perfection. At times, I envy them and at times I find it just a bit too sterile. The days haven’t arrived yet when she’s starting asking why we can’t have certain things that other folks seem to take for granted.

I don’t know, can you grow to love a big screen television set or a home computer?

Instead, I’m like a pack rat of sorts. It seems like everything that my kid lays her hands on is able to inspire some kind of memory and a lot of her stuff is on permanent display in my little museum/home. Some are happy, some are sad, some will probably fade over time and some will eventually grow stronger. All I know is that she won’t find them tossed aside like a broken down piece of equipment that you can replace with a quick trip to Best Buy. We still think conversation is a form of art and though the silence that lasts between us when we’re angry at each other for some reason or another sometimes goes on for too long, we know it won’t last forever.

Maybe someday, she’ll read this and it’ll make sense.

To me, there’s a certain beauty in that.

For E2 Quest: More Than Walls

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