For the first time in my life, I don't have a place to call home. There is no bed upon which to collapse. There is no glass into which I can poor some much needed wine. A hollow echo exaggerates every sound, my soft cough booming off the walls. And it's a weird thing to realize.
After spending two straight weeks traveling for work, I finally made my way back to Philadelphia. One bus, two flights and one train later, I curled my fingers around the handle of my suitcase and walked up the driveway leading to my condo complex. A misty rain coated my face. The rubber grip of my luggage tugged against my palm. As I fumbled for my keys, I couldn't help but feel like a stranger in my own home.
My condo lacks furniture but there are still plenty of tasks to tend to. Extra paint cans need to be moved to the storage unit in the basement. Art too big to fit in my car needs to be relocated to my parents' house. Piles of paper are strewn across the living room floor, most of which I'm ready to just toss. After all, the most important items - my passport, Gretel's spare key, and receipts - have already been stashed in a pumpkin-orange, Tod's shoebox.
Tomorrow morning, I will run up the street to get my hair colored one last time. I will figure out what to do with my mountain bike and golf clubs. At some point, I will back into a corner, look around my condo and feel a sense of emptiness. Then, Sunday, I will pack up my car and hit the road. My goal is to make it to Atlanta in one day.
"The kids keep asking if you're moving in this weekend," Leslie said when I spoke with her the other day.
I don't have a home of my own in Atlanta either. Though I put money down on an apartment, I am now thinking I might be better off waiting for a larger unit. In the meantime, I will stay with Leslie. And that was always my plan. But, though I comfortably eat food from her fridge and pee with the bathroom door open so we don't have to stop talking, her house still doesn't feel like home.
The next few weeks will continue to be defined by transition. Though I'm a month into my new job, my team doesn't formally launch until early April. There is still more training to complete, training that will include another week in Chicago and a few days in Miami. We don't even have promotional paperwork to distribute because the current set is still being reviewed by legal. Everything in my life right now is in flux. It's exciting and unsettling all at the same time. And all I want to do is curl up on a sofa, tuck my legs under a warm blanket and enjoy the comforts of home.