Exiles

It’s just a place. Like any other. You’re there, and then you’re elsewhere. After awhile, you end up with a lot of elsewheres. A lifetime of elsewheres. Some places put a hook in you because of their beauty or strangeness or because they resonate with something inside. Some places are just home.

Home is difficult, partly because you take it for granted when you’re there. it’s only after you’ve left that you feel its absence. it’s really only when you can never go back. Homes give out on us or we on them. Before we feel too sorry for ourselves, there are whole peoples who can’t go home, who have been forced to leave, who carry the deepest of wounds because their home has been taken from them.

But homes are taken from all of us. Sometimes very quickly. One day, you turn around…and that’s it. There’s no going back. Then where are you?

Where you are now, I suppose. The home waiting to be lost. The place that will someday belong only to memory. With time, the memories belong to a smaller and smaller pool of people. Eventually, they’re gone, and those homes are forever erased.

Some deal, huh? It’s weirdly beautiful, though. Perfect in its imperfect way. Time is not our friend, but it does grant us a store of experience, which becomes all that much more precious as it gathers attendant loss. Eventually, we pay for it. Forever moving forward. But the past follows, and as painful as it can be, bearing its weight, we should be grateful for the things we’re allowed carry. Because they belong only to us, until we must relinquish them, and they cease, altogether, to exist.

That’s when they take us with them.

About Steve Patterson

Steve Patterson has written over 50 plays, with works staged in Portland, Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit, Austin, Tampa, and other U.S. cities as well as in Canada and New Zealand. His works include: Waiting on Sean Flynn, Next of Kin, Farmhouse, Malaria, Shelter, Altered States of America, The Continuing Adventures of Mr. Grandamnus, Bluer Than Midnight, Bombardment, Dead of Winter, and Delusion of Darkness. In 2006, his bittersweet Lost Wavelengths was a mainstage selection at Portland Center Stage's JAW/West festival, and, in 2008, won the Oregon Book Award (he also was an OBA finalist in 1992 and 2002). In 1997, he won the inaugural Portland Civic Theatre Guild Fellowship for his play Turquoise and Obsidian. View all posts by Steve Patterson

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