“Here is a key.”
The door was proverbially open; literally once I unlocked it. The offer was extended to come in whenever I needed to, day or night, and make myself at home: I moved in the next day.
They didn’t know how long I was staying for; neither did I. More of my belongings arrived; my car took up residency outside their drive; I had my own room. My washing went on in with theirs; my jeans got muddled up in the ‘whose are these?’ post-laundry sort out with the wrong person ending up wearing them. I ate with them, laughed with them, cried with them. I watched TV with them, did homework, and learnt to stack a dishwasher at the instruction of small children.
We had split up, and I was lost. My home and my sense of belonging was suddenly askew – the place I’d belonged didn’t exist in the same way anymore. I belonged to God – but in many ways no longer belonged to my parents. I had left them to marry, and my home was upside down.
The seven weeks I lived there I belonged. ‘Red Coke’ was bought just for me, and adding to the other culinary requests, the mushrooms got added into the stir fry at the end so I didn’t have to have them. I ate more avocado, I began to like cashews, I knew whose footsteps were whose on the stairs.
Over those seven weeks I gained strength and resilience to eventually move home, but was back regularly. Every Wednesday I was round for dinner, and many other nights in between. When I found it hard to eat, needed companionship and just wanted to belong, I was there. Once I was happier, content, it was still the place I wanted to go and share my good news and good days.
Their house was home. I was home. Even once I’d started sleeping well, and been happily living by myself for a long time, I could still come home to their house.
Moving away from them was one of the hardest wrenches in going. No phone call can replicate an hour standing, chatting, stirring risotto in the kitchen.
But last weekend I parked up in my space, grinning from ear to ear, and raced into the house. I flung open the door, and was instantly captured in a hug. There was ‘red Coke’, especially purchased for me, games and a good old catch up.
Are you not sure how you can help your newly, unexpectedly single or separated friend? Let them belong in your life, the day to day minutiae, the ordinary and the normal. In a whirlwind of unknowns, there is great comfort in the ordinary and day to day of family life.
Belonging was a breath of fresh air into my dry, pained lungs. My second family, a home from home, and where I’ll always belong.