Saturday, May 15, 2010



It's a yellow Cape Cod with brown trim, tucked away at the end of a quiet street in Wheeling, West Virginia. The neighborhood is Warwood. The backyard has a fence, and my mother throws birthday parties there for me and my brother. I lean over the back of a kitchen chair, clothespins in my tiny hands, and I aim for the opening of the milk bottle on the ground. I win a prize regardless if it goes in. So do the other children at the party. I have a bedroom upstairs, filled with pink bedding and brown furniture. My brother's room is across the hall, its minty green walls cast a familiar glow into the doorway of my own room. My parents sleep in their bedroom downstairs.


It's a split-level in the suburbs of Chicago with a black tar driveway that smells like heaven on a hot summer day. The backyard's giant cherry tree provides hours of entertainment during the summer: climbing, picking, smelling. The swingset/fort combination my father built stands at attention in the back right corner of the yard. I sit in the sanbox underneath it, the cold granuals sticking between my little toes. On the side of the house, my mother's rose bushes radiate a blushing pink and a deep red. The smell is heavenly. I start school. I go for walks in the neighborhood, selling my Girl Scout cookies door-to-door, my little red wagon trailing behind me, as is my mother. We sit at the kitchen table, my father telling us we're moving. There are speckles in the Formica table top underneath where my fork rests.


There are 27 trees on the property at the bottom of the hill of our street in Mansfield, Ohio. And a swing set out back. My bedroom has two of everything--the result of having twin girls as the previous residents. There are two closets, which connect in the middle with a set of shelves. A long, built-in desk the length of one wall, with two openings for chairs. There are even dressing room lights above a mirror at one end--an indicator of my future profession. It is the place where we live when my father first performs with a symphony. We bring home Daisy, our Boston Terrier, here. I break my arm on Mother's Day, in the backyard, on the swing set. My brother and I become best friends. It is my favorite home. Ever.


Mars. The town, not the planet. As in Mars, Pennsylvania. Soon to be Cranberry Township. The walls are pink, to match the previous owner's cherry furniture. I am in high school, playing piano, acting in theatre, kissing boys. I paint a giant earth on my closet door, my homage to environmentalism. I experience my first real heartache. My mother is very, very ill. My brother gets arrested for the first time. I decide I want to go to Juilliard. I chicken out. The gravel driveway freezes in the winter, a sheet of solid ice. The rhododendrans are gorgeous. My father cuts down the two pine trees in the front. I go to college. Twice.


London. A flat in the East End. Across from my university. I have no central heat, so I sleep with my shoes on. I am homesick, but excited. I take the Tube everywhere. I spend hours upon hours on the South Bank. I walk through the streets, pretending I'm a native. I am cast in a play. I perform at the Harold Pinter Theatre on Mile End Road. I am the only American. I play Balderdash in my kitchen with other foreign students. Toben, Marissa, Nadim and I are best friends. And then we're not. I go to Paris on the EuroStar and speak the language as best I can. I read 4 books a week for class, and I tire of it. I get a kidney infection, go to three different hospitals for treatment, and eventually drop out and return to the States to get better.


It is not my home. Wisconsin. My aunt and uncle take me in. I sleep in my cousin Jil's room, and then the guest room. The dog barks and pees and poops everywhere. The TVs are always on in every room. I work two part-time retail jobs. I try to be a model with the Ford Modeling Agency, taking the train from the cornfields to the Windy City, two-hours roundtrip. I fail. I fall in love. I cry every night. I spend time at the Lake at night, in my car, talking into the camcorder about my sadness. I am miserable.


My very first apartment. In the cornfields of Wisconsin. I'm an assistant manager at a clothing shop. I am heartbroken and left behind. I weep into the carpet of my living room floor. I want out. Forever.


With my parents. Again. I start graduate school. And I get a full-time job. My life re-begins.


My second home, an apartment in the city. There are trees and sidewalks and patches of soft green grass. I have a fireplace in my bedroom. The train tracks are nearby. My best friend lives below me. I am still in graduate school and loving my full-time job. My bathroom is one of my favorite rooms. My landlord treats me like one of her own children. I meet the Ross-a-tron. And there is so. much. love. I start acting again. And modeling more often. I meet wonderful people who change my life. I settle in.

I am home.

I am finally home.

with love from Pittsburgh,

8 lovely bits o' feedback.:

Anonymous said...

we love you home...
you've always been home.
we're always home, we just sometimes lose our keys.
lots of love,

Duel Living said...

It never feels like home if I'm too far away from that 1st one...the only one that ever felt like my true place. I'm trying my hardest to make wherever I am home...but it will never be the same.

Ross_A_Tron said...

I love you so much. I'm so happy I get to be a part of home for you. I wouldn't have it any other way.

laureen said...

i miss you. missing you makes me miss me. my story feels untold without the telling. someday somehow let's find us a smidge of time.

Kim Z said...

That's quite a journey. I'm glad you found your place.

Nate St. Pierre said...

I'd like to apologize on behalf of Wisconsin. :(

But I love this entry.

Paul Cat said...

Wisconsin . . . I'd weep into the carpet of my living room floor also if I lived in Sconsin.

That place you have in the city sounds sweet.

Anna said...

this is such a clever/heart-touching post- you are a pretty brilliant writer (and you are so beautiful!)

I am so elated that you like my blog & even more so excited that you, too, are Catholic! woot!

oh & i have a ross for a boyfriend, too! :D

you + me = awesome new blog sisters!