I move around a lot. Not necessarily in terms of permanent address; my actual house has not changed since I was brought into this world. In that sense, I only ever moved from my mother's womb to the hospital to my standard suburban house where I lived for the next 18 years. However, despite having been settled there for most of my life, I don't feel particularly attached to my town. There is a lot about it I don't like to associate with, for example, the prominence of some flags (confederate ones) and the backlash of raising others (LGBTQ+ pride flags). Instead, I've made homes out of the people around me in whichever place I wind up in, travels and otherwise. The people I find a home in provide more comfort and protection than four walls ever could.
Currently, this sense of home most feels like my best friends' apartment at school where I spend my spare time. Or where I spent my spare time prior to this tornado of events that uplifted our sense of home and threw it to the wayside. Being surrounded by these four walls, in particular, feels like home because those four walls provide the shelter for my heart, to be poured out along with some tears and some wine.
It smells like the first truly successful meal I've ever made: red Thai curry, pan-fried tofu and garlic naan with butter. The rich warmth wrapping around us in a way that only a home-cooked meal could. The meal is made even better knowing all of the times I've been cooked for in this same kitchen and that this is my sort of repayment, though my friends would never ask for one.
It sounds like people from all aspects of our lives, friends of friends from the past four years that somehow began to overlap seamlessly in an ostensibly miraculous way for a school of 15,000 people, singing karaoke. Three hours later into the evening, it sounds like those same people playing acoustic guitar, some murmuring to each other at a volume just lower than the subtle notes of Mac Miller's "Surf," others completely silent just basking in the melodies. Often times this apartment sounds like four boys wrestling above us, crashing into walls and floorboards alike. Yelling, jumping, crashing. Only ever apologizing in the form of Hannaford cakes and leftover beer.
Above all else, what it feels like is love, in its purest, simplest form. Simple by choice, hugs and open conversation distilled down from the complex going-ons of our lives beyond these four walls and our beloved blue denim couch.
One of the last times I was here before this shit storm of a pandemic happened was right before spring break. We had spent a solid portion of the weekend together. Hosted friends, got bagels and coffee at the beach (a Sunday ritual that occurs about as often as the sun will grace us with her presence), and edited pictures that I now look back on with a smile and slight twinge in my heart. The moon was almost full that night. Four of us were sprawled out on that blue denim couch when we got a text from our friend Joe. “Moon” was all it said. That was all it needed to say. We threw our shoes on, wrapped ourselves in blankets and went outside to admire the moon as it rose over the apartment building. Our friend who graduated the year before sent a picture, acknowledging that she, too, was looking at the moon from her home a few hours away. These types of texts weren’t unusual to receive. In fact, they occupy most of our group message, as we don’t often bombard each other’s phones with “what’s up?” texts.
That night, half of us headed back inside to get a start on homework, while Carol and I headed the other way. We went for a walk around campus, just because the moon was that striking and we wanted to see it from as many angles as we could. We had homework to do as well, but we figured it could wait, thinking: in three years would we remember that homework assignment or this full moon? Maybe neither, but the second option was more appealing so moonrise watching we went.
Last night, two weeks after an e-mail alerted us that face-to-face operations were halted for the semester and three weeks after receiving the text about the moon, I found myself walking by the kitchen window in my childhood home. The moon was peeking through the trees behind my house. It was nearing full again, illuminating the sky despite being cozily nestled between the branches of trees behind my house. Corny as it sounds, I felt a slight sense of closure and a much larger sense of comfort wash over me as I was reminded of my friends, transported back to my favorite blue denim couch and the walls that surround it. Now surrounded by a different set of walls, but looking at the same moon, I thought to myself “Goodnight A5” and headed off to bed, where ever-more procrastinated homework awaited me.
With all the love in my heart, now and always, Goodnight A5. Goodnight Moon.