The Lost Sense Of (Be)Longing

Going home or, more accurately, travelling from your home to a place you used to call home years ago drowns you in familiar dislocation. Perhaps it’s the lack of sleep or the fact that these journeys so often start in the soft hours before dawn that heightens our sensitivity to the weird. Either way, you feel like an interloper in a land where time, unlike your memories, has ticked on.

Bypasses plough their economically booming furrow through the land. New buildings thrive in the displaced earth on either side. That’s what it said on the slideware so it must be true, right? I wonder what happens when there’s nothing left to bypass.

Didn’t so and so used to live there? Next to the roundabout? Wait…was there a roundabout there before?

The memories are not just of objects and places and people but of lifestyle. Life stage. These are the things we knew BC – Before Children – or at least for the most part. Back when we were younger. Back when there was so much time you could stuff great handfuls of lost minutes into your face, gluttonously chewing away the hours you’ll never get back.

Lost passages in a book that always moves forward. Sure, you can riffle through the pages of the past but the words are scattered. Indistinct. The meaning hazy and smudged like old ink. Eventually you reach the point where the current chapter settles into an endless, formulaic read. The narrative is stripped down to the basics. Rise, exercise, work, interact, eat, sleep, repeat. Orderly and familiar. Comfortable monotony – is this secretly what we all want? Is that what we want to think about, to read about? Or is this, perhaps, why magic still holds true somewhere in our buried imaginations?

Before you fall pregnant you dream about gender, personality, looks, skills. You fool yourself that being pregnant is a couple thing and that somehow the load is evenly shared. Before they arrive you dream of ten fingers, ten toes and a heartbeat. Right now if I can dream of anything I dream that their life revolves around their passions.

I dream that their chapters are so much more than a collection of moments.

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21 thoughts on “The Lost Sense Of (Be)Longing

    • Thanks Esther 🙂 I scribbled some of this in my notepad on a flight back from Joburg a little while back and I’d forgotten about it. Was nice to be able to revisit it and tweak it a bit after the recent trip to Wales.

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  1. Some beautiful writing Nik. Gosh, I remember those glorious BC days when you could stay in bed half the day watching box sets just wasting time away… but I’d do it again I tell you! I don’t miss those days though. It’s great when you’ve been up for hours and got loads done then you realise it’s only 9.30am…!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a gorgeous piece of writing, Nik! I remember the lost BC days well, and I love this line,
    “…handfuls of lost minutes into your face, gluttonously chewing away the hours you’ll never get back…”
    Welcome back, Nik.

    Liked by 1 person

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