Yesterday, Talia and I flew three thousand miles to Los Angeles. We sat next to a very tall black man who was going to Japan. “No, I’ve never been there before. I’m excited!” he said like a little boy. He had a big smile, was going to meet his “girl” who worked in Tokyo.

I slept the first two hours of the flight, slept even through take-off, slept through the turbulence over Louisiana, and almost through the beverage service. I got a ginger ale.

Home Coming

Photo by Tony the Misfit

When we arrived, my mother met us outside. She gave me a big hug but I pulled away before she did because airports will do that to you. I hugged my father. We put our bags in the back and took off down the coast where there would be no traffic.

We drove past the Santa Monica beach, past those modern Santa Monica beach homes that will always be too expensive for us, past Malibu and the university I almost went to with its big cross on the hill. We drove to Neptune’s and ate steamed shrimp and fried fish dipped in the best cocktail sauce I’ve ever had. We drank beer and talked.

It’s good to be home.

Yesterday, I asked you to write about a road trip home, and a few of you responded with some very interesting thoughts, both about the road and what that word, that “home” word means. I liked what Katie said:

Yet today, home is my 2008 Corolla that needs an oil change. Tonight home will be a motel room somewhere between Cleveland and Pittsburgh.

I once packed home into a backpack and took it to Kenya. I once packed it into a Civic and took it to Georgia. And yesterday I packed it into a suitcase and took it to the place I was born.

Home is where you are. Home is this present moment. This one right now. No, now.

But it’s nice to be here with my parents for Christmas. It’s nice to sleep in the room I slept in for the 6,500 days of my childhood. It’s nice to be at this home, in this moment.

Happy homecoming to you and your families this Christmas.

PRACTICE

Write about a character coming home. If you’d like to continue your story about yesterday’s road trip, that would be fine. Or you can start something new. What does it mean to come home?

Write for fifteen minutes. Post it in the comments when you’re finished.