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" … no Home yet in the history of this world so far ever felt a damned thing."

Almost nobody will complain if I resort to proclaiming that something "feels like home," even though homes can't feel. Most will seamlessly parse the phrase without noticing that they've supplied one hundred percent of the meaning they experience, for phrases like 'feels like' act as trance inducers. If nobody raises an eyebrow in confusion, the induction worked. Congratulate me, I'm a hypnotist, except nobody noticed. If nobody noticed, is it still a trance? Perhaps it's the very best trance of all.

When I think of home, a thousand contradictory feelings bubble up, for home has hosted pretty much every sort of feeling I've experienced from my greatest sadnesses to my greatest joys, though the home itself seemed rather impassive, merely the medium within which those feelings emerged.
The home held the space for the feelings like a bottle holds wine. I dare not ascribe the properties of the wine to the bottle. Nobody drinks the bottle and homes don't feel.

Homes indifferently serve as a stage for many feelings to perform their parts, the memories of which might evoke other feelings. If I catch my mindful self present, I might notice a pile of feelings, any of which I might assign to a mention of home. How might I choose? I mostly seem to choose by not being aware that I'm choosing. I might sense which sort of feeling you imply when you say that something feels like home, whether reassuringly warm or deathly cold, and inject that specific feeling there. It's me injecting, whether I'm aware of my action or not. You induce the trance by implying some feeling, but I complete the trance by pre-consciously supplying the feeling for myself.

My feelings about home seem ambiguous enough that I cannot discriminate Home from Not Home by merely querying my feelings. More than once upon a time, I sincerely wanted to flee Home in abject terror. Other times, I ached to return. Still other times, hardly any feeling registered, Home then seemed no more significant than a convenient branch upon which a foraging bird might land. My feelings about Home serve as a lousy flashlight when trying to find my home. Feelings are tricksters, promising much some days and chasing me far away on others. In my late teens, Home seemed like quicksand sucking me down. In my late fifties, it seemed the perfect betrayal. In-between times, it often warmed and reassured me. Lately, it's seemed like some salvation dangling just out of reach, perhaps some feeling I should dedicate my life to experiencing again or maybe, just maybe, a cynical seduction. I can't definitively tell which.

Feelings serve as one mercurial metric for anything. They quite objectively don't exist, but subjectively, they represent all experience. Most importantly, they represent. They are not the thing they represent, but curious indicators of its presence. Strange things happen when mistaking a representation for the object it represents, a form of socially-accepted schizophrenia where nobody questions 'feeling like home,' though no Home yet in the history of this world so far ever felt a damned thing.

©2019 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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