I’m not talking about houses. I’ve never owned property. Given how shitty my luck is with finding jobs and financial success, I probably never will. But I was watching a video by the YouTuber Anime Abandon. I’ve often talked about how I get ideas from other people. Does that make me a plagiarist? Not whole-sale. I take ideas of others and offer my own spin. Since there isn’t a single thing that is truly original anymore, I don’t think too long on it. In his video, he talked about a video rental store that just recently closed in California that was his childhood home. Where his love of anime and old childhood memories of sleepovers were associated. It got me to thinking.
Over the course of my life, I’ve lived in a lot of places. In each of those places, there are the memories that are associated with them. The places that felt like my own, to one degree or another. Not that I felt I lived there, but that I felt the most comfortable. Wait, that’s not right. How do I put it. You ever have those places where, regardless of where you are, it is where your memories are associated? Like if you live in a house and you have a tree fort that you spent a ton of time in? It’s like that. So here we are, and I figured I’d talk about the places from where I’ve been that felt like mine. Maybe it’s telling that I haven’t had a house I’ve lived in after the second from my childhood that feel like mine.
When I was really young, the place I most associate with that time was my Grandma’s house. She and I were incredibly close. A maternal figure in my life. It helped that I was not a fan of the grandmother on my mother’s side at all. We butted heads almost routinely. But when I think of my grandma’s house, there are so many good memories associated with it. Her and I talking about whatever. I would go on about whatever random thing, and she would listen. Kinda like my old man does, even though I know he isn’t much for it. He took a lot from her. Probably we get along so well. That’s not to say my mother and I don’t. It’s just different.
All the memories, of my time there. Visiting my grandpa, who was in his basement. The man was a chronic alcoholic, and his health was abysmal because of it. Living on disability checks from the VA, he was kept cozy. I would often go and talk to him. More often than not, he’d be outside. He would just sit in his chair and be in the sun. Or he’d spend hours mowing the big lawn they had. I could tell that was one of his favorite things to do. Groj knows, their lawn definitely benefited from it. It looked immaculate.
There were also the memories of my time with my brother from another mother. He was like a brother to me. In reality, he was my cousin. All the time that he and I would be in the back room, playing pretend. Good memories. From the days before he stabbed me in the back. Wish I could hold on to those days.
The last thing I associate with that place is the first girl I ever loved. She moved in there, and I would always go and see her. When we were younger, I could go up, watch our favorite childhood show. We would talk about nerd stuff, jam out to 90’s music, listen to these new age CDs that she had that I still listen to to this day. Time went by. We grew up together. One day, I started to notice that she was becoming a woman. It didn’t slip past me how beautiful she was. Thus began the tragic story of how much I loved her, but could never tell her. In hindsight, I wished I had. To Hell with the consequences. You only live once, after all. The thing I would most change, if I could go back and do this all over again.
Upon moving away to the old family homestead that my parents bought after my mother’s family had to move because they couldn’t handle a three-story house at their age. There, the places I found I most gravitated towards were the lake and the field. The home was a lake. There are a ton of memories from where I would go there when I was very young. I have always had shitty balance, so I flopped out of the boat onto the raft like a fucking beached whale. That puts a smile on my face. Memories of when her and I were on that raft, just the two of us. I wanted to kiss her so bad. But I never did. Why not? Questions that have no answer. That never will.
I could wander down to the lake, or through the field, and let my mind and imagination wander. But more than that, there was the mowing the lawn. Surprising, I know. But Sally had me get on the riding mower because this place also had one hell of a big lawn. I was damn good at it, so I would take my time. It never stopped being enjoyable. So many stories that played out in my head. Getting to ponder whatever fiction I wanted to. Making and destroying universes, all in my mind. So many of my big idea documents on my computer can trace their origin back to those days on the lawnmower.
After high school, I started out in a local community college. That place became something of a port of mine. Often I would walk around. Then there was a time when I was really tight with a girl who worked there. She was a student worker at the library, and virtually every day I was there, I would drop by and visit. Even with how it all ended, and the fact that she hates me now, I still smile at the memories. Makes me so angry at how the whole thing ended, because if she had just come and talked to me, I know that we would have worked things out. Like so many people in my life, she kept all her anger at me bottled up, and now it’s done. Still, those were good days. When I felt the world at my fingertips, and all the people in my life with me.
When I was in state college, the place that was mine was the walk around campus. I walked absolutely everywhere. Didn’t drive anywhere on campus, if I could avoid it. That was pretty much always. I can only think of one or two times that I absolutely could not walk to where I needed to go. Hell, I’d walk to events on campus. The reason I would do that is because I lived in the dorms. The walk was always really nice. Jamming to my favorite tunes on my iPod and getting a little time to let my mind wander. Noticing a pattern? The places that are mine are the ones where my mind gets to wander and go to myriad places. Where my creativity can take shape and fly.
My first apartment had no place like that. The neighborhood was unsafe in the extreme, and I didn’t trust anyone in there. But I was living with someone I was dating, and that satiated it. Her and I could talk long into the night about whatever. She loved to watch me play games and we could watch movies and make fun of them. So many good memories. Just like all the loves in my life, it’s from another existence. Memories that have no home.
Then there was my second place. My last apartment sucked. It was a shit-hole. But there is one thing I miss. Because I was having difficulty finding a job (a story that has never died in my life, even when I already have one), I got cooped up in there. So what did I do? Easy – I went for walks. The one I miss there – the hospital. That was my daily walking route, and I loved it. Every single day, without fail, I would go around it. The place is pretty big, so my route never felt short. In fact, it kept growing as time went by, and I decide to extend the walk. All those days, during the warm and breezy afternoons of summer, and dark and bitterly cold days of winter. Even with all of my problems, it was a warm memory. A good walk, too.
Which brings me to now. I’m in a much nicer apartment, yet it doesn’t feel like home. I have a walking route for when I’m not at work. At work I take multiple walks a day, but it’s always centered around my job. I don’t feel like that’s mine. Well, not completely. The people I hang out with there and the good times we have are awesome. Makes that I have to leave to find a better job that much more frustrating. To have to go from an awesome job because of financial need just pisses me off. That’s not how life should be. But then, there are a lot of moments like that, in my eyes. Still, there are no places in my life currently that feel like mine. When I leave her, nothing is going to stay with me. It’s all just going to slip away.
All those memories. So many of them are from places that either I’m not there anymore, or they aren’t there anymore. My grandma’s old home has been completely remodeled from the ground up. You genuinely wouldn’t recognize it anymore. The house on the lake is owned by my uncle now when my parents sold it for the same reason my mother’s parents did. My apartment is now probably being rented by some undergrad like me. My first apartment is a shithole that I won’t think twice about. The second home I lived in, which felt like a place I could call mine was sold and then totally fucked up by the people who lived there. The vast lawn we had, the garden my mother grew, the beautiful brick walls in front of amazing flowerbeds that merged with the upper tier lawn that my father spent so long making and my mother maintained so studiously are overgrown with weeds. It kinda broke my heart when I took a couple pins and broke into the joint after those people had to sell it. To see the empty halls of my youth, decaying. It made me sad then, and it makes me sad now.
I’ll never get to go back to that back-room, or when that girl moved down the big basement room and we jammed out. I’ll never get to be next to her on the raft after we went swimming. I’ll never get the opportunity to tell her how I felt when it really would have meant something. When the truth finally got out, we already were frayed and it was abundantly clear that that damage was already done.
What are the places in your life that you have memories attached to? Let me know in the Comments.
Until next time, a quote,
“Nothing is completely safe from being lost forever.” – Bennett the Sage