I think it’s strange the power PLACE has over us.
There are some places I adore. They are filled with ghosts of people, and shadows of smiles, and aromas of foods that I love. They are like those red pins you stick in a map, giving them that magnetic pull, that draws you back again and again. Sometimes I worry that my whole world map will become a mass of red pinpricks, that I will be torn in all directions, spinning constantly to places I can’t get enough of.
But then there are those places that I shy away from. The places that lurk in the shadows of my red pins. The places with an ominous atmosphere, a painful past, links to what you want to escape from. I don’t know how an inanimate place – a certain layout of objects essentially – can have such character: a brooding, thin lipped glare; bushy eyebrows hanging low over beady eyes; hissing breath puffing in the cold air, tendrils of lies lilting to fading songs.
Perhaps I have an inescapable need to imprint a form of humanity on things. Maybe I only find happiness and safety in a place because I falsely recognise an element of myself in the way a tree waves in the wind, or a wooden boat bobs on a lake.
But this invisible canvas I lay over the world has always been there to an extent. I have always preferred odd numbers to even numbers, because to me, the evens show arrogance at their ability to be divided by two. I prefer door knockers to door bells, because the shrill call of a bell seems rude, always interrupting me. I prefer land to sea, because the sea is a rippling beast lying in wait, wanting me to slip into it’s murky depths to be swallowed whole by unspeakable monsters.
The place I have been for the last two weeks is one of the ominous ones. Not the city, as such, but the room in which me and le man were living. You could say that a place is whatever you make it, but that wasn’t true, not there. It was a room full of so much sadness, so much tension and words left unspoken for too long. It was a prison cell, one that we created around ourselves to save what was Us…only to find that ultimately, it was choking us.
So I have done what I always do when I turn a place into the bad guy: I run.
I have run to the place I grew up. A place of warmth and laughter and memories and support and family. Le man and I are back where it feels we belong, with space to breathe and find ourselves again, with no threatening growl from the bowels of the beast to greet us as we enter.
Hopefully, it will cure us. I have great faith in the power of PLACE. Place can help you find what you thought you had lost, remember what you felt you had forgotten.
Here, I hope to find that peace within the man I love. That little red dot of a place within him that shines like a beacon wherever he happens to be on my world map.
That little place called Home. That place where love resides.