Assignment: You’re told that an event that’s dear to your heart – an annual fair, festival, or conference – will be cancelled forever (or taken over by an evil organization). Write about it. For your twist, read your piece aloud, multiple times. Hone that voice of yours! Additional suggestion: If some kind of event doesn’t come to mind, feel free to interpret this loosely — an unexpected change in something or someone. A previous school. A childhood best friend. A TV show you’ve watched a long time that has gone downhill. Anything.
It was still dark when I left home for good that morning in July, unaware that I had taken such a momentous step. Ignorant then of the truth given voice by Thomas Wolfe, “You can’t go back home to your family…”
I would have been puzzled if someone had told me, “E, this is the last time you will be home.” I may even have dismissed the words without thought. Or if I had reflected on the words, my response would have been, “Why will I not return home? My parents are here.” My response would have been rooted in the firm, deep belief that there would always be a place for me in my childhood home. In the unwavering confidence that my parents would never turn me away. They would always welcome me with open arms. They loved me. In addition, I had witnessed my older siblings leave home over the years to live in other countries and they always returned to a warm welcome. Of course the same would be true for me.
Time and experience would reveal the reality of this truth. I returned to 94 multiple times but the E that left that first morning and subsequent mornings was not the E that returned for each visit. Visit. The word alone says much. I was still a beloved daughter but one who was visiting, not one who lived there. I think I felt it in the hugs of my parents; they hugged me fierce but there was also the knowing that I would leave again. They were also different. I struggled especially with their physical changes. Those changes in my father, were the most difficult.
Although I go to 94 emotionally and mentally both in sorrow and joy, it is not the physical characteristics of the place that I reach for but the love, and security, and freedom, and sense of belonging that were mine there. It is true. I never returned home after leaving in the dark that July morning.