In my room, there’s a poster I was given as a going away present. My friend loved this antique-y printing place in downtown, and he knew I was going to be homesick. This was the first time I’d moved so far from home, and I wouldn’t know a soul when I got there. The poster itself is little more than a bad pick-up line, but I loved it, gave him a massive hug and told him it was perfect. Now, it hangs by the door next to the ridiculous pull-string light switch. I see it every time I leave the room, enter the room, and turn off the light for bed.
Anytime I get asked where I’m from, I don’t give them where I was born, where my parents live, where I lived for 18 years. I never really belonged there. It was weird the first time I said I was from Nashville. My brain had this immediate rebuttal of “Stop lying! No you aren’t! You barely lived there!” But I don’t think I could say I’m from my ‘true’ hometown either. It was a holding area, like a nursery, waiting for me to grow into a stable adult, waiting for my roots to be ready to grab the soil of my real forest. I only lived in Nashville for 4 years, but it’s where I want my feet when I get out of bed. The water tastes hard, and the air smells like summer. It’s where I knew I would go after this stint abroad. I feel like I’m in limbo, floating until I can land again.
The more I look at the poster, the more I think it’s weird. It looks like it belongs next to a miniature circus tent, with the scent of hot dogs surrounding it. But then, my circus judgment disappears into longing, and I have to fight off a sigh and sometimes a tear or two. My reaction might be weirder than the poster itself. I can’t tell. And I don’t really care, frankly. I’m proud of my weird little hometown poster. It keeps me from feeling lost, because it reminds me of where I’m going.