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Sunday, December 6, 2009

No (wo)man is an island

If no man is an island then I am most definitely a peninsula. I like to think that I am a law unto myself, but then the flood tides rise and I whine about a lack of resources while the waters swirl insidiously above my neck. Nothing has taught me this in such a hard hitting fashion as a trip back to the hometown. Due to the lack of drinking water I followed the example of the ultimate recessionistas (college students) and found myself on a bus headed straight for the land of milk and honey. It had been a few months since I had returned home. Surely I would get off the bus and be welcomed back in the manner of the prodigal son, with concubines and a banquet and gold galore?
I alighted the bus on a freezing Friday evening, whith the sun setting in a huge red blaze behind me and nary a parent to be seen. I'm used to my mother waiting for me by the family sedan with a friendly smile and an intricately planned menu for the days ahead. Instead I faced an icy trudge home solo.
I navigated my way across a busy main road, an essential shortcut to the homestead, and hoped that someone would be at home since I had foolishly left my keys at a house party the previous day. No such luck. The house looked intimidatingly empty.
I was stranded in my own hometown. I was an island - and I hated it. My parents had forgotten about me. I have never felt so utterly isolated in my entire life.
Stuck on the frozen granite step outside my house, I couldn't help but think that this was all my fault. Only I could lose my keys in a regrettable blackjack game. Only I could come home at the drop of a hat and still expect a degree of fanfare akin to a biblical parable and only I could sit on the ground, cold seeping into my behind, and think about what a sorry sight I made while waiting for my mother to get home from work.
My mother came home after a half hour. With frostbite setting into my posterior, I toddled inside and waited for her to light the fire. She told me to sit down and passed me a cup of piping hot, sugary tea. I was no longer an island. My mother had made the connection to dry land, and I was all the better for it.