BY JENNY WILSON
It’s 9:30 PM, it’s freezing outside, I’ve got two big boxes, my purse, and my lunch pail in my hands and I’m rushing to get to the crosswalk before the light changes. I’m done a 10-hour shift working at the mall during the Christmas season and I’m on my way home. Not home to my apartment. I’m going home, back to my hometown. Back to Norwich.
I haven’t been home since Thanksgiving, but I have two days off and I’m not staying in Toronto when I haven’t seen my family in what feels like forever. They don’t know that I’m making the trip home. As far as they know I will be home for Christmas and Boxing Day and then I have to go back to my retail job. It will be 11 PM by the time I get home and they might already be asleep, but I don’t care.
Being away from home for almost five years has it definite advantages. No one to tell you to clean, to ask you where you’re going, to lecture you after you drank a little too much and made a fool of yourself, but it also sucks because you have no one to clean up after you, to fix your car, to help you find that thing that you lost, to cook for you, to match your socks after they get washed. It also sucks because you don’t get to see the people you’re used to seeing everyday, who raised you, who always knew what to do, and what to say.
At first leaving was hard, and I missed home like crazy. I thought that I would be in Windsor until Thanksgiving when I first moved, but I only lasted a week and both my mom and I needed me to come home, so she made the five hour round trip to come and get me, so that I could come home for the weekend. As the years passed the time between my home visits increased and eventually I didn’t have a plan for when I would be home. After moving to Toronto I’ve basically stopped going home, except for during major holidays. I don’t feel like a student anymore. I feel like a real grownup but working and school has made it difficult finding time to get home, and really there is more going on in Toronto anyways.
But as they say, absence makes the heart grow fonder. I appreciate my parents and my friends back home now more than ever. I miss having my mom around just so that we can talk about how our day went, and because she is always up to do whatever with me, whether it’s going shopping, or to see a movie, or even if she’s just there to support me on my televisions show choice, when my dad complains about watching another dress show. That’s something that I miss about my dad. His jokingly whiny voice whenever I’m watching a girly show, or checking my car for oil and tire pressure before I leave to come back to the city, or his playful boxing if I’m trying to get by him.
Not having those little things means being independent, having a separate life that doesn’t intersect as much as it used to and I think that I’m getting there, but I still rely on them so much that it seems like I’ll never be able to live without them. I guess that’s what missing someone actually feels like, but for right now I don’t need to worry about that and I can just focus on what’s going on right now. And right now I’m coming home.