By the time I graduated from high school, I had been to twelve different schools. One a year in different cities, states, and countries. When I got to college it became important that I know "where I was from." Until then I just said "Nowhere, everywhere", but on the program for graduation it says Norwalk, CA (not to be confused with Norwalk, CT which is way more famous).
Ok, fine. Technically at that point Norwalk was the closest thing to a hometown as anything. After all, my aunt has lived in the same house for over thirty years and I had learned to walk in that house; the first phone number I learned was hers (still the same); and I graduated from Norwalk High School (funny story: my cousins all graduated from another school even though they lived in the same city, we were rivals).
A couple of years later on a very VERY hot afternoon and mostly by accident, I landed in Phoenix, AZ. Back then jobs were plentiful and the city was growing, it was easy.
Now we've lived in this city for years (definitely the most we've ever lived anywhere) and, dare I say it?, I think this might be home. All of you know that I've been trying to get out of Phoenix ever since that fateful afternoon but I think my inability to leave is as much fate as it is me, almost willingly, coming back every time.
I've been driving back and forth between Phoenix and Norwalk a lot during the last few months and I feel the pull of one stronger than the other. Consider these key points:
1.- My license is from Arizona. I present my license in California and people look at me suspiciously like "why are you here?"
2.- I can't check out any books at ANY library in the whole county of Los Angeles. Do you know how many libraries that is? A shitload, that's how many. And I'm barred from all of them because I "lost" a book almost ten years ago. BTW, this point is the one that hurts the most because I also can't use the wi-fi.
3.- "No reunion information is available" that's what is says in the school website. Not that I'm at all interested in going to the reunion but I'd sure as hell would like someone to remember that I once existed. Besides, looking at the yearbook I'd say that "single and unemployed" is probably not the worst thing at my high school.
4.- I don't know where anything in my aunt's kitchen is at and I basically use the same pan for everything. I also don't like their version of the Ranch Market and the layout of the Target is different (i.e. confusing) than mine.
5.- I need a map to navigate the freeways, there are at least three ways to get wherever it you are going in California. Holy shit! Now, I've gotten a whole lot better at the freeways and have gotten lost way less often than usual but I really miss just taking the streets.
So yes, I'm constantly trying to leave and find where the hell I belong and what I'm supposed to do but I think I've definitely realized something very very important:
I am from Phoenix, that's where my home is.