Can You Go Home Again? I Tried.

chorus-lineOne of my favorite musicals is “A Chorus Line,” the 1970’s show in which a handful of dancers auditioning for a Broadway show tell the stories of their lives. Diana, one of the lead characters, sings about her high school class in “method” acting,” trying to “be a sports car or an ice cream cone.” Through it all, she feels nothing, the same lack of emotion that she feels years later upon hearing that the acting teacher has died. But instead of learning to act, she has learned to dance.

Last Tuesday Barb and I were invited to dinner at the home of lovely neighbors we said goodbye to two and a half years ago when we left the old ‘hood on the way to our new house. It was a rainy, gloomy evening as I drove along the very familiar roads approaching the old subdivision. I took my old shortcuts and bypassed the busier intersections.

I made the turn past the entrance sculpture (one of Barb’s pet projects,) and some updated mailboxes, and drove down the foggy road towards our friend’s home. We made one detour to take in a bit of new construction (I always knew those driveways would be a problem) before reaching our neighbors, directly across the street from the house we had lived in for more than 25 years.

We had a delightful few hours. Tasty appetizers, a home-grilled dinner despite the weather, plump ripe strawberries at dessert. We talked about medicine and retirement, we bemoaned the state of politics, and we batted around the many theories about who the Night King was and who would ultimately claim the Iron Throne.

Towards the end of the evening, the discussion turned to our old house. The house in which we had raised our kids, the place they had left for college, the home where we had many parties of celebration and sat shivas of grief.

I could hear in her voice that Barb still pines for that house. She misses the gorgeous marble kitchen island countertop, the annuals she planted each year, and the electric fence that kept our pets safe. She misses the neighborhood and the neighbors. She misses all those years of healthy living without the aches and pains that have come with age. Without a doubt, that is the home that will always be in her soul.

And what do I feel?  Yes, I remember every minute of living there, the ever-lasting good times and the minuscule bad ones. And yet…perhaps I am cold-hearted or have bottled up my emotions but when it came to that house I now feel nothing. It was a wonderful time, but just like Diana in “A Chorus Line,” I am dancing on.
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