A Return “Home” (Quotation Marks Required)


I spent the first part of this week in Boston.  Well, Boston area to be specific, so not quite Boston.  Regardless, the weight of this return should have loomed heavy over me.  Boston was, of course, my home.  In fact, I still owned property there no more than three months ago.  So, to make my first return since packing up the pup in the car and leaving town should have struck me pretty hard.

It did, but not how you would think.  But let me get to that later.

My trip this week ended up to be not really returning in part because I didn’t really get to where I normally were.  I lived just south of downtown (Dorchester for you detail picky people), and when I got out it was mostly around the downtown area, South Boston, or near Fenway.  My work this week was in Bedford, which is Northwest of the city; and I stayed in Twekbury, which is further north of Bedford.  I arrived way late on Monday, left way early on Wednesday, and was too tired in between to put up with Boston traffic to visit anywhere.  So, I could have been anywhere this week and not really been anywhere.  Then again, I could have been avoiding Boston.

The thing is, Boston never really became a home to me.  I’d joke that when I would call it home, I would use quotation marks.  More often, the joke was: “I have the most expensive storage unit in Boston.  It’s the size of a condo, it has all my stuff, but no one lives there.”  Understand, I firmly believe Boston is a great city and would be a great place to live there if you lived there … but I really didn’t live there.  My travel schedule was so demanding that I never really was there long enough to feel comfortable.  In a city where it takes time to meet people and grow friendships, I literally knew only a couple of people (mostly people from before I moved there, or people who hung out at the Packer bar).  It’s not that I didn’t give Boston a chance, I was just there so little it didn’t give me a chance.  In all fairness, part of the bitterness of Boston is also my own doing – when  I was there, I found myself doing things that weren’t the best for me and walked some lines I should never have walked.  In the end, living there left a stamp on my person that won’t wash off very quickly.

Still, I was surprised I wasn’t interested in the nostalgia of my return.  I thought maybe that it was too soon for that desire.  Winter only finished a few weeks ago, and I practically left as it started.  Not much had changed but not much should have.  So as I was boarding the plane on Wednesday morning to make the return trip to LAX I typed up a quick post on Facebook.  It ended with:

…  happy to be flying home.

When I checked back on it later something hit me.  Yeah, I was happy to be heading home, it was short by tiring trip.  But then I noticed how I wrote that last word.  Home.

No quotation marks.

So yeah, this trip struck me hard.  Just not how I thought it would.


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