When I was living on my own, it didn’t matter what time I got home. Or whether I came home at all. I took bus rides just for the fun of it and hopped off when I felt like it, boots slapping against the pavement of some new street in an unfamiliar city. I wandered. I hitched rides from county buses. I ate meals in cafes I’d never see again.
I felt invisible, unknown, and free. It was the freedom of a stranger, with no extended family to hold me accountable. Greedy freedom.
Can you blame me for loving it? A woman raised in a Mormon community that taught obedience, a family who preached my doom if I ventured out into the world. It was the best kind of revenge. Watch me fly, fuckers.
I even wandered into a few places where it started to feel like home–a dance studio, Russian class, Toastmasters. But I had bigger fish to fry. And eventually, I always wandered back out of those almost-homes.
Only now, engaged to an extraordinary man, does the idea of home tug at my heart. When I’m away from him, I always feel a pull to return. Simply because I love being with him. Belonging with him. It’s a beautiful thing that only confirms my affection for him.
But still, it takes some getting used to. I find myself needing to redefine home, marriage, and freedom as an independent woman who wants to keep that independence–but also bring my man along for the ride. I believe it’s possible to have both hearth fires and freedom. And the key, I believe, is that the journey continues, full of endless discovery and wonder, but it continues together.