I'm in the kitchen making a cup of tea when my mobile starts ringing in my room. I rush over, hurdling a couple of open half-empty boxes (how I love unpacking) and I reach it just in time.
It was my dad, calling from his car: "We have officially moved out. I gave back the keys today." The satisfaction in his voice is palpable and understandably so as in little more than a month he emptied our family home by himself while working.
Unfortunately, I was too busy taking in the shock: the place I used to call home for the past 6 years wasn't home any more. Even more, the city where I spent the last 13 years of life, wasn't home any longer. Even though I wasn't particularly happy there-I can honestly say that I hated it for the majority of the time- I suddenly felt homeless. Which I'm not: I have 2 houses to go to, more than what most people have. However, I don't know which place is "home" anymore. Despite it's provincial placidity which made me feel trapped within a day and a trip to the supermarket, Varese was home (or so I realised of late): I grew up there, I made some lifelong friends and somehow over the past 2 years, it had become my inner north when the going got tough. The sight of the Alps from the plane, those same mountains which I could see in the distance when coming back from school, always spoke of home. On getting off the plane I could smell the air, dense with the fog and the pollution of all the industries scattered in the plain, and I knew that, for bad or for good, I was home. Now that my parents have moved where my dad works, I find myself at loss of a place to call home. Their flat- where my dad has been living during the week for the past few years- doesn't feel like home. Every time I went there, I felt a bit like a guest: I was clueless as to where things were or even how the shower worked. And probably I was, because that was my dad's flat, not our house.
Having just moved into the new flat here in Newcastle, I don't dare call it home yet. At the moment it's an empty house with the belongings of 3 people stored in. It's very pretty and modern-nothing like the old huge house we lived in last year- but it's not home yet. And at the moment Newcastle doesn't feel much home yet either. The streets once familiar feel a bit estranged to me. The clear bright northern sky which used to lighten up my heart now seems just cold and distant. I feel lost because my heart-or at least a significant chunk of it- has stayed at the other side of the Mediterranean, under the radiant Israeli sunshine. Right now, when I think of home, the image of a tiny room, with half broken furniture and creaky tiny beds, will imperiously appear to the eyes of my imagination. A room where I laughed until my tummy hurt, cried all my tears, shouted of joy and shared the deepest hurts of my heart. A room where I was hardly ever alone. A place that is not home, since my plane took off 48 hours ago.
And all contrast so much with my room now, my real actual house: big, spacious, with a huge double bed where I could lose myself. And yet I can't feel it as home, not yet. Maybe once Claudia and Aaron are back and we start our everyday life, back and through from the hospital, it will.
But for now I am at loss of a place to call home.