It had been a great long weekend, the first trip back home for the Offspring Formerly Known as Resident, and it was evident that she was finding her place in the world. Independence suits her; she has an aura of confidence, of self-knowledge that I never noticed before. Sure I will miss our silly banter and our talks about nothing at all. Yes I kept forgetting, as we sprawled on the chesterfield guffawing at crappy horror movies, that she had ever left home. But leaving home, going away to university, was the right thing for her to do.
But where do you go once your only child has left home? What keeps us in a city we have called home for over a decade, even if it's not a city that I ever particularly warmed to? Since the OFKAR has never really cared for this place either, it's not like we have to maintain a sense of home for her in this particular geographic location. But what now?
As we drove home from the airport last night, I looked hard at the passing landmarks, ignoring the fact that I had passed these places innumerable times over the past years, and tried to see them through the eyes of a newcomer. Was this a place I would chose to make my home? I'm not sure.
But if not here, then where? I have always relied upon having a strong sense of place, a strong tie to my home. But this city is so very different from any other place I have lived. It's a city where I have never really gotten to know my neighbours, where I have never really felt a part of the community as I have in other places. And yet, I think it would be a mistake to leave, at this point anyway. Because even if we were to return to the city where I felt most at home (which we won't be doing), I really don't think that you can ever go home again.
Or can you?