Not quite a poem, not quite a short story.
It dances in joyful laughter and shared smiles, echoes in years of love and friendship, fills the spaces around us with unspoken heartache, eternal longing.
Home. Home. Home.
I’ve never been there.
Sometimes it builds and builds and builds, an aching swelling never-ending wave of emotion that curls over on itself and spills down my cheeks in saltwater splendour. It thrums inside me with every gulping intake of breath, every shaky exhale. On those nights I can run and run and run, desperate for that which I have never seen and never known, desperate and searching.
The energy gives out before the longing, leaving me doubled over and panting for breath in the middle of some darkened street, tears running down my face and splashing to the ground. And the desperation and the disappointment give birth to more tears, a river of sorrow flowing from a stinging gaping wound.
There is no answer to the endless echoing call of my heart, no reply to the noiseless screams: I want to go home!
The only comfort that comes is in the warm embrace of a friend and the whisper of I know, I know; I feel it too. I cling to that comfort; I cling to that friend who identifies with the eternal part of me.
The certainty grows that there is more to life; that this ache cannot be healed by anything here on earth, not by alcohol or drugs or sex or the fastest car or the biggest house.
The longing persists through the years, a small seed growing and flourishing, finding strength in relationship. I am not alone. I am not the only one who feels this. There are others out there, others like me who feel this terrible ache for a home we’ve never seen, never known.
Sometimes I’m so tired, so weary, so exhausted, and the ache is there, and all I want to do is to just go home. I know that home is elsewhere; I don’t know where that elsewhere is, but I know it’s not here. And it calls to the desperate part of me, home, home, home, until there is no respite.
It is then that they gather: the others who feel the ache. They huddle around me, speaking words of warmth and understanding, we’ve been there, we know, or I haven’t stood where you stand, but I stand with you now; I’m here for you. They take my ragged layers of desperation and despair and eroded self-control, and they clothe me in love. They take that small piece of eternal home that rests within each of them and they show me what it means, here and now.
It means family.
It means comfort.
It means hope.
And just for a moment the freefalling endless echoing longing halts; just for a moment I catch a glimpse of home, here on earth, and it is enough. Caught in the safety net woven from tiny fragments of eternity, I rest. It is enough, this fleeting glance of heaven on earth, of infinite souls in finite bodies.
So delicate on the outside, these human shells, but each contains something timeless and indescribable. They are truly beautiful, breathtakingly exquisite, every one of them — and all the moreso for the strength of their restraint, to remain here on earth when everything inside them is screaming to go home.
Their time will come.
My time will come.
The ache endures, the yearning persists, but so does the certainty: our time will come.