I’m home again.
I’m typing this at the dented and scratched wooden table that I used to eat at almost every morning, noon, and evening. There are a few new scratches on it thanks to my two year old brother, but when I walked in everything looked about the same.
Everything was the same, but the Nashville airport has new ads, there are new signs for 840 off of I-24, and my little brother is now speaking in short and babbled sentence.
My brothers still argue, but not quite as vociferously as they did when I left. The couches were set up just slightly differently than they were when I left. Anakin, my old mutt, still has as many grey hairs on his snout, but he’s walking ever so much more slowly. Cocoa, the bulldog, still snores. If anything, it’s cleaner.
Walking in the door (on crutches, no less) felt like it had every day before. Everyone still plays card games like they did before, with the same inside jokes.
My brother, who had been before I left talking about starting a small custom pen business, has actually done so. He’s not living off of it, but he’s actually starting to have some real spending cash. He’s going to graduate high school a year early to focus on his business.
Despite the fact that last year it was at a different location and a few less relatives were able to make it, in tone and in fact Thanksgiving was very nearly the same it had been in 2015. What talk of politics there was consisted, primarily, of jokes. Several members of the family could be called conservative, others almost far right, but none are really left. We avoided talk of President-elect Trump. I leaned over to my cousin Kennedy when everyone had gotten their food and I said, softly, “So, who’d everyone vote for?”
She gave me a half-joking death glare. “Don’t you dare.”
After the meal everyone was tired and rather than sleeping the older members of the family coerced and cajoled my cousins into putting on something of a musical show, since they both and my brother are musically inclined. Their voices and the sound of a guitar were more mature than before but the scene could have been set at any point in the last four years or so.
Carpe Cafe has the same atmosphere, the same young musicians, but the art on the walls has changed. Heck, one of my friends grew a beard when I was gone. (In case you’re curious: Yes, it looks awesome. Huge fan of beards.)
It’s been three months since I’ve been home. I’ve changed, and it has too, almost imperceptibly.
One thing stays the same, though:
There’s no place like home.