I went home for a short while over the Christmas break. It had been over a year since I’d been back, but little had changed. Of course, little changes when you visit the same friends and places. Strangely, it wouldn’t be home without this consistency.
As people do, when they’re visiting home, I met with family and long-time friends in familiar places. We shared stories about the things that have happened to us since we last met, and filled in the gaps that infrequent emailing left. We laughed together, and talked about the future, too.
The initial hug when you meet someone you haven’t seen in a while is always an awkward one for me. How long is the hug supposed to be? Should it be directly proportional to the length of time that has passed since we last saw each other? Or, rather, should it be long enough to impress upon you the amount of care and devotion that I have to our friendship?
It doesn’t matter, really. It’s best not to think about it too much. But these hugs, for me, are also an indication of how close we are to one another. Physically and emotionally. You have to get really close to someone if you want to hug them. Kissing is, quite simply, invasive.
So, fine. I met with friends, who I hugged for various lengths of time, and then we’d sit down and have a conversation. During one of these conversations, one of my friends told me that I have really long eyelashes. During another conversation, another friend, and the only one to do so, made mention of the fact that I have taken out my earrings.
I’m close to both of these people, but in different ways. The earring-friend and I share an intellectual connection and a similar proclivity toward life. The eyelash-friend and I get along because we enjoy the moments of pleasure that exist between our divergent outlooks on life.
Anyway, we were having tea, my eyelash-friend and I, when she, quite out of the blue, turned toward me and mentioned that I have long eyelashes. I replied by saying something to the effect of, “It’s really annoying because they scratch the lenses of my glasses.”
This is true. My eyelashes brush the lenses of my glasses every time I blink if my glasses aren’t positioned just-so along the bridge of my nose, and it’s nothing short of annoying. The resistance applied against blinking eyelids is enough to make a guy go mad. Blinking should be an unfettered, and unnoticed, act. Being made aware of one’s own blinking is the basis for a reevaluation of one’s existence.
Now, I didn’t think that my eyelash-friend was ever physically close enough to me to notice the space between my eyelashes and the lenses on my glasses, but the comment implies a certain closeness. Doesn’t it?
What makes me pause is that I can’t recall anyone mentioning my eyelashes since I moved to Ontario. In over a year-and-a-half, I, apparently, haven’t been close enough to anybody for them to have noticed how long my eyelashes are. There was a brief period when I started wearing contact lenses, so I could wear sunglasses, and even then nobody brought my attention to the length of my eyelashes. (I have the same problem with my sunglasses, but I put up with the annoyance more patiently because they make me look cool.)
I think that the comment about my eyelashes can be made the metaphor for the closeness one has/feels to one’s home.
I moved to Ontario with the hope of creating a life for myself, and finding myself along the way. I’d say that I’ve changed and grown (oh, the grey hairs!) a fair bit since leaving Calgary, and, for the most part, (I think) it’s been fairly positive.
I retain a closeness to Calgary, insofar as it’s my hometown and it’s where many of my friends live. But, it’s no longer really my home. I live in a comfortably sized one-bedroom apartment in a small town in mid-Ontario, and it’s what I call home. Here, the closeness I have with others has nothing to do with physical distance from one another or with the town I live in.
The people who I’m now friends with mustn’t be looking at my eyelashes, focusing on something much more intangible in our relationship. And, given that we don’t exchange butterfly kisses with each other, they are unlikely to care too much about the length of my eyelashes.
In a sense, I’ve outgrown the length of my eyelashes. I never thought that they would be the yardstick against which I would measure my growth, but so be it.
I should write a commercial for Maybelline.