After the end of a Shania Twain song played out, REM's "It's the End of the World as We Know It" came on and I got so happy and looked out into what was the midnight Virginia sky since my plane left way behind schedule. But I was home, or what used to be that, and this car ride, my mom and I commuting from Dulles to her home is probably the most significant part of this trip, and yes, that may be because it was the only time the whole trip where I was alone with my mom. But she told me that she finally divorced my dad a couple months ago, that she couldn't wait around for him to die forever. (His doctors predicted that he was going to die about two years ago.) She is dating some army guy. I told her good, that she probably should have done it a long time ago. She then made a succession of quick, revealing comments - that she would have earlier but my dad needed health insurance, and that she probably never should have married him in the first place. It was stunning to consider that things could have been so different, that my existence was so based on chance, on a regretted marriage. She continued this stream of quick thoughts and said that she was grateful because it gave her Jamie and me. I asked her how old it was when she got married and she thought about it, if it was 22 or 23, and then declared as her answer, "too young." I told her that I was gay, since it had only been vaguely alluded to since I told her I was bi at the age of 18 and this car ride seemed to be the place to talk about things.
She missed two exits on the way home. I didn't mind because it was more time in the car. When we got home, everyone was asleep. My mom microwaved me some leftovers and served me a beer, and we talked some more. It was very nice. There is really too much I could say about my trip home, about the feelings provoked by old sights, by sporadic suburb developments gently lighting up the woods, the night sky, about seeing familiar stores, or new stores where familiar ones once stood. I'll tell you that I talked with my sister the next night and she sort of kicked me ass, told me that she was probably going to go teach English in Japan when she graduates this spring and that I should do something to escape the cycle of working and drinking, that I should see the world. I told her New York was the world. She knew I was lying and rolled her eyes, told me I was too smart to shelve books, that I should do something with myself. It is definitely an experience to be told what's what by your younger sibling.
At Thanksgiving dinner, I found out that one of my younger cousins is suspended from school for serving her classmates ex-lax brownies, and while, it is nice that someone seems just as hopeless as me, I then realized that she will at least be cool and badass whereas I am a boring mediocrity messing with no one's bowels. There was a priest at dinner with us, my mom's uncle, and it was funny to see how little people had to talk about besides distant relative stuff with a priest at the table.
I was so happy when I arrived back in New York last night. When I unlocked my door, I sighed to myself, "It's so nice to be home," and really felt like I was coming home for the first time in so long. It is nice that I have managed to establish that at least.