. Hiraeth .
a homesickness for a home to which you cannot return, a home which maybe never was; the nostalgia, the yearning, the grief for the lost places of your past
On a rare star-studded night, I entertained a conversation with a companion that weaved its way between topics of varying degrees of sensitivity. Music hummed in the background as we discussed matters of the heart and my words conjured memories of a past that I believed had faded but demanded to be unearthed once more.
The dull throb of alcohol pounding through my veins induced me into a gentle, trance-like state as we spoke about the purpose of life and finding one’s calling. We talked about the beauty of travel and exploring new places, chuckling over the irony of how throwing ourselves in foreign environments is what helps us makes sense of who we are the most. And he asked me, the baltering nomad, the one question I found I’d attached to the mystery of my identity: ‘what is home to you?’
I don’t know whether I could attribute the moment of enlightenment that followed to my ins-and-outs of momentary consciousness, or perhaps to the soulful strums of a guitar reverberating from the speakers, unlocking rooms that I’d once believed were vacant and uninhabited inside my chest.
I told him then, with more clarity than I knew I’d ever had for a concept that had haunted me all my life, that ‘home’ to me was not a place but a feeling. How I attached my existence and different fibers of my being to moments, to people, to experiences that, when I’m living in that very time, consume me but then escape, leaving me desolate and reaching for a semblance of home.
I belong and exist everywhere and nowhere, all at the same time. Home is fleeting, scattered and stretched over a span of years where I feel I did not wholly exist, spare for those moments in which I was simply everything. Those seconds, though fleeting, held an entire universe of depth to my wandering soul. Seconds that once lived, were lost, and locked away in memory to be nothing more than that: just a memory.
I told him my arms grew tired and my heart drained from constantly reaching for those infinitesimal infinities – so now, I rest, wrapping them around this empty vassal of a body that is both, hopeful and longing to be filled again, and at once, utterly broken in her isolation.
I don’t know how much of that translated into words he could make sense of but that night, I had divulged a part of me that I hadn’t known existed to a trusted friend.
I didn’t know that night, that in my life’s quest for a home, for that temporary feeling of belonging, I had denied myself the understanding of what was truly being built. The grand masterpiece of my hiraeth that I seek to find is not the end in itself but the journey that continues to unravel through the fragile fabrics of time and space. When these small, meaningful moments, sprinkled across various points of time, come together collectively, it creates the home I’ve been blindly chasing all my life.
Recently, my hiraeth is being fulfilled in ways I never imagined it could; in moments that last longer than a heartbeat which embed themselves in memories I refuse to lock away but cherish, even while I’m living them. Suddenly, everything I felt I’d ever lost is coming back and everything I never knew I’d needed is right here.
My arms are no longer tired from reaching because my fingers have finally found another’s to lock onto, the tiny perfect spaces between our skin interlacing to fit together somehow amidst this puzzle we call life. My heart is no longer drained but filled to the brim with a sense of beauty and completion.
By the very fingers that stretched into the ether, in desperation for a home that would fill me, I reach into myself – my heart, my mind and my soul. And I realize –
My hiraeth led me to this wondrous, miraculous soul but I know that he is not the answer nor my purpose.