I cannot remember a single time that I have felt legitimate homesickness. Not in my entire life.
I recently was told (numerous times) that I am cold and unfeeling. These traits are news to me. But maybe my inability to feel strongly about a place I call my home is a result of my alleged coldness. Or at lease an illustration of it. I’m not so quick to buy this.
I have felt a deep and heartfelt longing for places that I have not yet been able to call home. Maybe this is my real crime. Sometimes I feel as though it is my aspirations that have damned me. My family has condemned me again and again for reaching farther than they ever have, and worse yet–succeeding. I am arrogant because I have found pleasure and enrichment in what my work can afford me and I am selfish for indulging in it. I offer no apologies.
Perhaps it is because I am still here, but I cannot see myself getting all choked up about Western Mass. I think of the cornfields in the summer, the farmers markets, and the ice cream from the local dairy farms. There are streets I can walk down and restaurants I can enter where everyone will smile at me with familiarity. I know woods and towns and buildings like the back of my hand. And in recognizing this, I can smile. But my heart is not sick.
The first time I ever remember feeling like I truly belonged somewhere was once when I drove into Manhattan after being away for many months. I felt the way one feels after they’ve forgotten their hunger and take their first bite of food. The hunger is sudden and insatiable. So I’ve felt that…but never homesickness.
And now, when I think of Tel Aviv, I feel something similar. Something stronger. I am certain that when I next step off that plane I will weep. For weeks I have dreamed of the fine white sand and the orange juice, freshly squeezed and warm, available on every street. I hold this city the same way young girls hold their lovers. There are days when I feel infected by it. It is in my blood now and I cannot shake it. I will walk those summer streets again.
So, no. I have never felt a longing for my home. I get feverish only at the prospect of other places. But I cannot help what touches and speaks to me. If my desire to pursue the things about which I am passionate mars my slate, so be it. I will live my life in hopes that at the end, my slate will be so far from clean that it will be destroyed entirely. I owe nothing. I will be selfish until the day I die and I may never even go home. If Tel Aviv is scab that I can’t help but pick, then I will do so earnestly because I have chosen to. I do not expect to be met with understanding.