Citizen Of Nowhere
Have you ever felt homesick for somewhere that isn’t your home?
Ever wondered if you weren’t meant to be here?
If you were supposed to be somewhere else … someone else?
I have … many times … my entire life.
See that picture there … I’ve spent a lifetime looking at it … at one spot in particular … the window in the corner of the room to the left of, and behind, the fireplace.
If I could just enter that room, I’d climb out of that window into the world beyond it.
It may not be where I’m supposed to be but it’s at least where I’m supposed to start out from.
And both … where I’m supposed to start and where I’m supposed to be … are not here.
I’ve never felt homesick for the land of my birth.
If it weren’t for the fact that London specifically has a special place in my heart — and London really knows how to party too — I could happily never even think of, never mind see, it again.
But sometimes, when the light is right, at the right time of year, for an instant I’m somewhere else, somewhen else … in one of the other places I’ve lived … in one of the other countries I’ve lived … and a sense of homesickness overwhelms me like a tidal wave … a heartrending sense of loss and yearning filling me with a yawning emptiness … like my soul has lost a limb and just this instant noticed.
When I first returned to the U.K. after many years away, I hated it with as much passion as when I first left. But I had good reasons to be here and so made the most of it — it wasn’t all bad … I made some good friends … went to some good parties … had some good times … formed memories I will always cherish.
But I wished it were somewhere else and, when I didn’t need to be there, would flee as quickly as possible … returning to the country that was my then home of choice as often, and for as long, as possible — whilst my friends were on vacation in the land of our birth, I went home to a foreign country and earned a living.
During the time I was in the U.K., I used to make personal little pilgrimages to the local motorway services … to the ‘restaurant’ for a coffee.
Motorway services are the same the World over and when you’re in one of the restaurants, if it weren’t for the language spoken around you placing you in a specific region, you could be anywhere on the planet.
All you need to do is wear headphones to filter out the sounds around you … close your eyes … and you could be anywhere … anywhen — you could step out of the doors into the outside world and find yourself somewhere else … be someone else … leading a different life … not you, not here, not now, not ever again.
The second time I left, once again, I had no intention of ever returning but life events meant that I was drawn inexorably back and now find myself sitting here wishing, yet again, that I were somewhere else, somewhen else … someone else, leading a different life.
I can and will, no doubt, emigrate in the not too distant future … when a few matters have been resolved and my life is once more entirely my own … the World once again the crustacean of my choice — my feet grow ever more restless … I feel homesick.
But it’s difficult to make any plans — knowing that I will be leaving makes it difficult to invest myself in anything here but not knowing when it will be makes it impossible to commit to anything anywhere else.
I am indeed a citizen of nowhere — neither here nor not here.