Where the Heart Is

For the first time in awhile, I thought of my first day here. My second first day, I mean. Fresh off the plane, bewildered and between, bags next to me on the seat of a cab: homeless, jobless, and no reason to be any one place over another. I was here on a hunch, mostly, and because I didn't know where else to go.

It was colder than I remembered, that was the thing I noticed first. Mid-January of the worst winter on record. The whole world was white and blustery and I was struck by the knowledge that I had only one coat and it wasn't very warm.

The second thing I noticed was the quiet. That seems like a quaint thing to notice after seven months spent between elevator-ed buildings, but it surprised me at the time. Everything seemed so small.

But small was what I wanted, wasn't it? My worldly belongings consisted of two bags and a clutched sheet of paper with an address scrawled in ink. I'd sold off or given away nearly everything I owned and every plan I'd ever had was lying somewhere across the Atlantic, or on Broadway, trampled underfoot. It might have seemed romantic if I'd read it in a book.

"Are you visiting?" he asked, monotone and meaningless, eyes barely flickering to the mirror overhead. He asks the same question thirty times a day and probably doesn't listen for the answer. "Or are you coming home?"

I watched the city pass through my frosty back window, trying to recall the buildings and the fences and the fields beneath the snow. For a moment I said nothing and then--

"I'm not sure."