There is a moment that I imagine every grown-up or growing-up lives through. It is the moment when, twenty-something and alone in your rented room, it occurs to you that you can no longer go home — go home, at least, as you used to. You have passed the literal point of no return, passed the years of semester breaks in your childhood bedroom, passed the dramatic seasons of quittings and crises and calls for help in your parents’ kitchen.
For some people it is a mental transition: at some point the tumult of twenty-something quietens; the seasons stabilise into years and jobs last longer than nine and a half months. Going home becomes only visiting, not to the past but to a new kind of life where your parents and you drink wine like adults of a shared category and review the things that came on the screen and think about what’s next. You are no longer a traveller, a conqueror of destinies. You are simply a visitor passing through.
For others it is physical; it is the agony of leaving the womb. For these ones, maybe, it is the house on the hill that is signed away and it is the bags and boxes and upside down sofas and it is the moving van that takes it all to the apartment, the tiny-kitchen-low-ceiling-fresh-paint-new-blender downsized place with no extra bedrooms for the times you need them most. It is the first journey back when you realise that this place, however abstract, that made you — is no longer, really, your place.
There is a moment, I am sure of it. It is the moment where you realise that you cannot own the place you come from. It is ever-evolving, it wants new things (like you did, when you turned your back on it). It existed before you and will exist without you, and in fact it never really existed for you in the way you had always imagined it to. No: you cannot own the place you come from, but it will always — always — own you.