I’ve always had a fascination with cheap small-town motels and coin laundries, with all-night coffee shops — with all-night anything. This stemmed from long before I tore my life down this last time; this stemmed from long before I even left for college.
I love these little loci, little foci of transience — the dull hum of the motel bulbs, the sick yellow light of the laundromats, and the tense silence of 3am. It’s full of people who don’t belong, people like me, who are gazing at their socks spinning in the dryer. We rarely talk, but there is something like comfort.
I miss New York. I’ve never lived there, but it’s relevant. I miss the pushback to my loneliness: the traveler from Lithuania I shared a bunk with one night, drinking and laughing, and then ended up in the same laundromat the next day, silent. Tucking myself into the corner of a hostel basement because I’m too old for this shit, but smiling at the whole thing anyway.
New York never felt like home — nothing has ever felt like home — but it felt comfortable, like I could rub my neck into its corners and something would scratch me ’til I purred. I biked through Manhattan in rush hour, over all the bridges, and I felt like I was neither accepted nor absolved nor rejected, not fish nor fowl nor good red herring.
I liked it.
At my childhood home, now, I also feel neither accepted nor absolved nor rejected — but you can’t ever fit into a space you lived half a lifetime ago.
My foot still hurts every time I take a step and today it felt like somebody was shoving a screwdriver into my right kneecap. Sometimes, I think my life is hilarious. Mostly, I don’t.
I miss that yellow light of transience, of motel rooms and laundromats. I miss belonging in that not-belong.