Thursday, February 19, 2009

Home (by Andy Lawless)


By now most of us are missing it in some way or another. Not that the food is bad, or we can’t get our clothes clean, or the various sundry comforts that come with home are not present here. The weather is warm and the air is clear. And dear Mom each night a roof hangs over our heads sheltering us from the rain. There is laughter and there is sweat. The beer is cold and the coffee hot and strong. The coral, when we swim among it, is resplendent with color and light. Fish I’ve never seen before. Scary deep blue sea that pulls us inside refreshes us too. Salty smiles as we make the big plunge.

The work is real. Deep, dark holes that take us back over a thousand years. History of the animists, history of the Hindus, history of the Muslims and Christians. Colonial coins make the eyes of skeletal remains in an unmarked grave. There they lie in the same earth as the sculpted ceramics of the cannibals and the jaw bones of a pig.

After numerous visits over the past decade, I’ve even got a familiar circle of friends who make their home here. Those who I’ve grown to trust, and those with whom I can’t seem to find trust. Social bearings that help me find familial comfort.

It feels a lot like home. The drunken laughter that erupts from the twisted words and minds of the orang nockals, the wild men, the orang gila, the crazy men. The friends whose trust I’ve gained. But it’s not for them that I write, or the fecund beauty these islands emit, a scent of sea and earth so sweet. I just wanted to write to say I’m missing you, and I wanted you to know I love you.


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