I've always had this idea that home was the place I could return to if being a grown up didn't work out. If holding down a steady job, maintaining the tricky facade of an adult relationship and committing myself to such tedious tasks as paying the electricity bill and washing the dishes just didn't light my fire like it seemed to for everyone else (and it really did seem to for everyone else), I could throw it all in and move back into my childhood room.
My friend Ava loves her job, talks about it incessantly and regales me regularly with stories about fabulous people she met at work or amazing parties she went to. I don't get it. I hate my job. I hate my boss, I hate our customers. And I hate the fact that I need all of them just so I can do shitty adult things like wash my clothes at the laundromat every Tuesday night.
My parents still live in the house I grew up in, in a small town five hours from the city. There are two trains a day, one in and one out - though technically both just pass through. My home town is not the destinaition for either train, and rarely for the people on it.
I haven't seen my boyfriend in three weeks. I'm fairly certain he is currently on a work trip in China, but I only know this, albiet uncertain, fact because he posts updates to his Instagram account at least five times a day. Hashtag Chinarocks. Hashtag Communismaintsobad.
The house I call home was built a good 100 years before my family moved in. A reminient of the gold rush that swept through the area. Its high ceilings and ornate fittings a testament to the riches that were very briefly around. My room was at the front, and faced the street. On hot nights I'd sit kneeling at the open window, my face hidden behind the white lace my mother insisted on having on every window. On the rare occassion that anything happened in that street, I'd see it.
I guess we have one of those open relationships, my boyfriend and me. Except I'm not sleeping with anyone else. And I'm not really even sleeping with him. Not just because he's in China right now, but also because the more I get to know him, the less I like him.
We had a big backyard, the size of a decent football oval. Mum filled large swathes of it with flowers and Dad captured another big chucnk for a vegetable garden that was the envy of our neighbours. But that still left me and my brother a vast expanse to use. In the summer, Dad would set up a sprinkler and we'd run back and forth, screaming with delight when the water fell against our bodies. And in the winter, Mum would stuff our cubby house with blankets and pillows and piles of books and she'd leave us plates of freshly baked biscuits and a thermos of hot chocolate at the door.
Ava has a great relationship. Or so she tells me. They've been together for two years and the sex is still amazing and very frequent. He's attentive and sweet and smart and funny and he holds her hand in public and buys her random little presents. Last week he bought her a box of Sencha Green Tea from T2. Ava doesn't drink tea, she drinks double shot espressos, but she told me it's the thought that counts.
I left home, I left my brother and my Mum and Dad, to go to university in the city. I was going to be a writer. A journalist. I was going to work at a major daily newspaper, breaking news and telling peoples stories. Except that never happened. I dropped out of uni, got a job selling insurance and told myself this was what I wanted. That compromise and making life work no matter what was what being a grown up was all about. That you don't always get what you want, sometimes you have to make do with what is given to you. That life is actually made up of thousands of tiny inconsequential snippets of time that you never remember the next day.
My boyfriend posted a picture to Instagram yesterday, his return ticket. He tagged me. I double tapped it.
I'm not sure why I'm writing all this down. Maybe it's because yesterday I quit my job and last night I packed up all my shit and this morning I'm waiting for a cab to take me to the train station so I can catch the train home.
Because this being an adult thing just isn't working out for me.