I went home over winter break, to the gray sludge of Cincinnati, where I saw family and old friends, to whom I once divulged my secrets in “bro talks” on dirty couches on Friday nights. They were now just passing faces at the grocery store.
A large portion of my break was spent on couches in my house, asking family members whether they’d “seen that video.” If they had, we’d reminisce about our shared experience, but if they hadn’t, I’d shout, “Are you kidding me?” and we’d proceed to pull it up. This would start a spiral down the YouTube rabbit hole that would inevitably end with me typing “20th Century FOX + Flute” into the search bar. I spent a lot of time discussing new fast food restaurants that had been erected in my neighborhood since I’d left. We have a Chipotle now.
I think I got lunch with a prospective Pepperdine student and said the phrase, “Drugs aren’t prevalent at Pepperdine, but they’re there if you want them.” What the hell did that even mean? I have no understanding of the Pepperdine drug trade.
I also spent a lot of time sifting through Netflix, and I spent very little time actually watching Netflix. At some point I played Bingo in a suit. It was a good break.
There’s more to home than catching family members up on viral videos, right? The saying goes that home is where the heart is, but that’s ethereal and useless. I get it: home isn’t just the plot of land where you fall asleep every night; it’s the people and the feelings associated with a place. But if you’re like me, you know that for the entirety of your college career home has been a splintered concept.
You have a Malibu home and a childhood home. I’m graduating in April and am not looking forward to adding another home. My heart is in Cincinnati and in California. How many more times can you divide it before you’re left with nothing? It’s only 11 grams. So much of my early life has been spent dreaming about possibilities. My life in the past five years has been a collection of goodbyes and bittersweet acknowledgements of moments passing.
Graduation puts you in flux. It forces you to go and make a home, or delay that process by hiding out at the place you grew up. It’s not that I’m scared to do that, it’s just I wish I could bring all the people I like with me; not all of you freaks, only the ones I’m close to: my friends, my family, maybe my grandma (she slacked on my Christmas present this year). But life calls us in different directions. That’s part of the fun.
Maybe home is the glue you use to keep your heart together, or maybe it’s that decisive act of holding the pieces of your heart in place. I don’t know where I’ll be next year, but I do know the people I want in my life when I go. I’m tired of friendships with ticking time bombs attached to them. I hope I’ve learned something these past four years. I hope I’m capable of the effort required to hold my unraveling heart in place so I can let the blood pump.
I think a house is where the heart is. It needs proper care and conservation to become a home.
Follow Ben Holcomb on Twitter: @BenjaminHolcomb
As published in the Jan. 16 issue of the Pepperdine Graphic.