On the plane, I asked Hannah if I was going home or to my hometown. She said that it’d be my hometown because it’s the place where I grew up. Where I live now, Toronto, is my home. She then asked me if Toronto feels like home. I said that it doesn’t quite, partly because we’re renting.
Today, we drove around and I showed her the houses I grew up in and the schools I went to. Along the way, I’d tell her about places we saw that I remembered. Often, I’d have to correct myself because I’d mistaken something for something else. We drove into what used to be the flee market. It’s not a furniture warehouse. The large signs along the inner-city highway weren’t clear enough for me. I was too busy looking at a hotel that used to be the Ramada.
The houses I remember are different now. The siding has changed, the gardens are different, and their grandeur has dampened. The hills I used to ride my bike up look smaller, so did the wall we used to play Redass against. Today was the first time that I took notice of the stunning view of downtown from the field of my junior high school. I was so conditioned into my routine when I lived here that I didn’t take time to notice what they really looked like. The streets names remain the same.
Hannah said that it was good to see these places because it gives her an idea of where I come from. It’s an interesting way to look at it. Is it the places themselves, where I played tennis, went to bubblegum dances, the route I carried a baritone on, or the path home that I walked, that made me or is it what happened in and along that did? For me, the places evoked memories. For her, insight.
My life no longer happens here, new experiences rarely happen here. Today was an exception; I’ve never taken someone around to show them where I grew up. That could be why it’s no longer my home but the town I used to call home.