When I was home last week for Eid, I was asked many times when – not if – I would be back home for good. “You can’t possibly like Miri, can you?” or “What is Miri compared to KL? Why do you want to be there even during weekends…”
“Will you eventually return back home?”
The truth is, the answer in my head – the first one that comes to mind – is no.
How do I begin explaining about the vibe at home? How do I admit without revealing cracked layers and thirty-odd years of bitterness? How do I attempt to put to context the intensity and tension of living a life tiptoeing around the delicate emotions and overwhelming presence of the matriarch of the house?
How do I tell anyone especially those to whom these questions hang on the balance and are answerable to, that I love a lot of things about home both in terms of the house and my hometown – but I cannot go back and live permanently in that house and under the same roof as monsters and memories that defined my childhood?
Very few people understand the love I have towards Miri. To be honest, sometimes I don’t understand it either. Some days I’m not even sure if it is correct to call it love. Sometimes I think of it simply as a trade-off – as if I’ve been tasked to pick a lesser evil and thus chose Miri. It’s a small-town, I would say, but it does good things to my soul.
When I am here, I remember that my life is mine. My self is mine. I remember that no matter how I grew up and the childhood I had experienced – which was not all bitter, do not get me wrong, but did leave me with a lot of complexes now painfully felt in adulthood – I too, deserve a fresh start. I too, have earned myself a blank slate. I too, am allowed breathing spaces free from obligations and expectations and a lifetime of emotional tiptoeing.
Because above all, what I desire most is to be free from the turbulence at home.
I ponder upon these questions today: are we such terrible children as grown adults that we all are now? Or is it simply that no matter what we do, the scale will never tip in our favor? But even so… why is your anger, resentment, and bitterness ours – mine – to bear? Because of this, when I think of home, I think of chains; always in chains.
Why is your anger, resentment, and bitterness mine to bear?