Friday 5 November 2021

Thought Picnic: Making a home of a house

Could not live there

Standing at the top of our street, Gbélẹ̀yí, it was called, meaning live in or on this land, I was not looking forward to living or life there. A place that was supposed to be my home, on sight brought a very sinking feeling upon me, like a bucket of cold water emptied over my head and travelling down my body uniformly but slower than gravity acting on it.

I could never understand it, in the house where I lived, I had my parents and my siblings, below was my uncle and his family, we had a friendly enough neighbourhood, in the house, I have shelter and provision, protection too, but something was still missing that did not address a deeply emotional need, I was adrift in a place where for my discomfiture, the only question was, ‘What is the matter with you?’

I lived in a house that was not a home, much as it was a home to many, yet there was nowhere else I could call home, so I endured life there and failed in other things. Things were not that equal.

Home long before home

When I lived in Amsterdam and went on my travels, there were times I could see my apartment block from miles away, sometimes from the plane, usually from a train arriving at the station, or from the taxi just before it went into a long tunnel. It was a wonderful sight to behold, for long before I got home, I felt I was at home.

The same feeling, I had when for 18 nights I yearned to return home from the hospital that when I eventually returned, I began to feel that my healing would accelerate. Even in the time of privation and penury brought on by extreme adversity, my home comforts helped the determination that I was on the mend. Opportunity did present to leap out of my 7th-floor apartment window, but I felt stronger inside my home especially when a sense of claustrophobia seemed to envelop me.

For my new home

I am at the stage of planning to build another home, I place where I want to return from the world outside and all its troubles, into the refreshing and strength that first soothes my aches and salves my sores before I am recuperated to face the world again. Into the arms of love and support, of care and concern, of companionship and friendship that transcends all and gives the assurance that we can face everything together.

Then I wonder to myself, every now and again? Am I a hopeless romantic, a fool for love and blindly falling to a place of despair? I have to tell myself, I know better now, yet a cloud of doubt seeks to shield the sunshine of beauty from giving warmth to the seeds sown for a future we can build if we allow ourselves to do amazing things. I yearn for a house made into a home.

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