In a week's time, I'll be in Britain at the beginning of my pilgrimage into my past, visiting the first two places that meant home to me. I haven't heard back from the current owners of either of the homes, so I don't yet know whether I'll be seeing things from the inside or simply standing on the sidewalk and peering through the front garden like a deranged prowler. For an adventure that I've had years to plan, things seem to have come together unexpectedly quickly and now I'm scrambling with train schedules and hotel bookings, trying to make sure I've got everything right. I'm a little nervous about this.
It's an odd thing, but I've been thinking a great deal about a man I "met" on a call-in radio show a couple of years ago. He told me that he'd made an impulsive decision to purchase a house that he'd been inexplicably drawn to after a brief viewing. After moving in, he found himself haunted by negative feelings about the house and he was struggling to find some way to redesign it. What he'd realized was that the house was very much like the one that he'd grown up inside, and that his childhood had not been a happy one. It seemed as though he had placed himself back into the space of an unhappy period of his own past without even being aware of it, as if to give himself a second chance to make things right.
I wonder how things went for him. I wonder if his attempts to open walls and build new doorways in his home built new cartographies for his soul.
I wonder if anything like that will happen to me.