i went home for the fourth of july.
i walked outside the first night i was home, to move a car out of the driveway, and it was so dark that i was absolutely stunned. first of all, the fact that the dark can render me speechless is very, very sad indeed. i guess i never realized how constantly lit my world was until i was back home, in the middle of the woods, where there is probably only one streetlight in my whole neighborhood. but you know what? i could see every, single star.
i went shopping with my mom the next day, and we spent hours in town getting things done and running errands. HOURS. i, again, was floored. because here, running errands can be done in a single store, and it only takes ten minutes to get to walmart. even when grocery shopping for the first time in a month, for two people, it only takes a little over an hour.
later that same night, i was reading in my room long after everyone else had gone to sleep. i got up to go use the bathroom, and again was astounded by how dark everything was. i had to navigate my way to the bathroom using familiarity of the house, which was once second nature, but now a foreign-esque concept, because my hallway here is lit up with emergency lights at all times.
settling back in bed, i turned the lights off and stared at my make believe galaxy constructed of hundreds of glow in the dark stars and planets stuck to my ceiling. i can't remember exactly how old i was when we discovered those, but my brother and i went crazy sticking them to everything. well...he stuck them to everything (including furniture) but i wanted all of them on my ceiling, all OVER my ceiling. my reasoning was that i rearranged my furniture so often (and i did, usually once every couple of months or so) that if i only put them in one spot, i couldn't see them from wherever my bed was to go next. so we put them all over the whole room. and these aren't the hard plastic stars that glow, these are plain, almost invisible stickers. on my ceiling, which is painted white, you can't even seem them until the lights are turned off. then it's like you're in another world. annnyway, i settled in bed and was looking at my galaxy, and i heard something. or rather, the lack of something. crickets were singing their little hearts out just outside my window, and i could hear the whistle of a train horn as it was coming down the tracks across the highway. other than that, i realized i was hearing a blissful silence. something i never get to hear at school.
had i really been away from home so long that all of these things surprised me? starkville isn't exactly what you would call a big city...or even a small city, at that. but living on campus is like living in a tiny little bubble in mississippi. i felt like i'd been living in a town so long that coming back to the country of alabama was like coming to another world. it was a welcome relief. a change of scenery, one i desperately needed.
i woke up the next morning with a sore shoulder. having most of my stuff away at school does have some drawbacks, i suppose. maybe you don't know, but my shoulder pops out of place at will. it doesn't hurt, but it feels and sounds gross to my friends. the only time it ever bothers me is if i sleep wrong, and my shoulder pops out and presses into the mattress overnight. then i wake up with stiff shoulders, and they ache all day long. without my regular pillow, i'd managed to pop my shoulder out overnight, and sleep with it that way.
but oh! what a small price to pay for the comforts of a home! to share a shower with two people instead of forty, and to not have to wear shoes! to have a kitchen with a full sized refrigerator, and a stove to cook my sweet tea on (because every self respecting southern girl knows how to make sweet tea), and a kitty cat to hug even when he is hot and grumpy and doesn't want to be hugged. a place where friends have been friends for a lot longer than your school semesters...even when they do silly things like fly to los angeles with people you've never met without telling you first.
it's been two days since i've been home, and i do miss all of the things listed here. i am also glad to be back in my own space. my room here is bigger, but it contains all i own in this box of living space. it's not quite the same as a home...but my bed is more comfortable. i'm not sure what that means, exactly, but if you figure it out, let me know.