A colleague at work recently gifted me—or well, technically she gifted Hudson with a copy of the book Harold’s Purple Crayon. The story details a young boy with a large purple crayon that he uses to draw himself into a story. He’s a new protagonist on every page, but in the end, he draws himself a window and a pillow and a bed.
I feel like Harold; for the last few years, I’ve been drawing myself an adventure without parameters but now I’m finally hoping to draw myself a home—a place to rest my head, a window to stare out so I can continue to dream. To use the metaphor of another children’s book, I feel like I’m knocking down every door in Denver asking, “Are you my mother?” But instead of mother, I’m asking, “are you my cabinets?” “Are you my baseboards?” “Are you my door?”
I have another children’s book—another gift from another friend– that describes the many different places one might call home. A Norse god lives in Asgard, Atlantians live in giant seashells under the sea, martians live on Mars, and a little girl lives in an apartment with a cat in her lap and laundry on the line. I trace these pages, because the illustrations could make your heart melt, and I try to find my own home here.
The problem is—mine and Jeremy’s pages are blank and large. The only parameters we have are timezones and citizenship. We could live wherever, forever. So we’re having to find home instead of making one.
This has been exhausting because everyone else knows what I want but me.
Colorado, Utah, New York, Switzerland. The pro-con lists are perfectly balanced. Nothing is whispering back to me.
I feel stymied and stupor.
I’m not quite sure why “home” is both calling to me so loudly and yet evading me so persistently. I feel like I never fully get to go to sleep. Like I’m settling in for the night and my bedsheets are too short and I’m itchy.
I remember once, I was studying abroad in Wales, sitting in the most edenic garden, and our professor read us a poem about a wanderer who was reconciling the idea of coming home to his Father. Given that it was a metaphor for death, the poem could have been a bit bleak but it was a peaceful commentary on the concept of return. You scoop up your experiences and you bring them back. You inventory. You enhance. Home is more nuanced with the memories you’ve collected and the people you’ve met.
And the thing is, I feel like I’ve met the people and had the experiences, but I don’t have the rack to hang them on or the shelf to stack them. So I cup my hands together, holding onto the memories tightly and praying they don’t leak through the cracks. But my hands are occupied and my purple crayon is just out of reach.