29 January 2010

Perpetual Motion: Places

Age five: Eram

I was six the first time we moved. I guess I should have seen it coming.

Funny. As far as I can remember, there has been a steady trickle of people disappearing from my life. You can't imagine how tough it is to realize, as a kid, that friends are only temporary.

At first it was my friends from the crèche moving out. Thierry, Cathy Q, Taro. But new kids would move right in so there were always people around. They would stay just long enough to cease being strangers... and then would go.

Vanish, rinse, repeat.

Angèle was one of my best friends. Not only had we known each other since forever, we had also witnessed together the curious acts of disappearance by friends and schoolmates. We used to talk about that sometimes and afterwards I would pepper mom with questions about them, where had they gone, why had they gone and when were they coming back.

Apparently there is some mysterious time when grownups "must go" somewhere. And when it comes, they drag their family along. Stupidest thing in the world.

Then it had been Angèle's turn.

How predictable, you must be thinking. Right. I'd love to see you explain 'predictable' to a five year old.

Mom always did, she would explain with infinite patience and something like "She went back home, Quin, where her family is. When people have their home somewhere else, sometimes they want to return."

Okay, I was beginning to understand going back 'home.' Gallente kids went back home to the Federation. Caldari kids went back somewhere else called the State. Some had returned home to Pator. Blah blah. Apparently they would not come back on Monday nor the rest of the week and, unlike going back home for vacation, once they returned home... they were gone. For ever.

"Oh, no, not forever. All of these places are faraway stars in the night sky and, see, each one is actually an entire world full of people. They are so far, far away that it is difficult to attend the same school or to even visit, but maybe one day..."

So, 'home' was this place you had never seen in your life, huh? Full of strangers and empty of familiar faces or places. Any place else could be home.

Except, of course, the one where I had been born. Where I had been brought up, where I learned to talk, walk, made my friends, knew everyone in the neighbourhood, climbed every tree... where I lived. The one place that was mine yet, somehow, was not my home. 'cause home is elsewhere.

I got to stay while all of my friends had to go. Maybe I was just lucky.

All of my friends. All. of. them.

Lucky? Maybe I am looking for a different word here.

But... certainly not Angèle? She had been there all my life and my party, she was supposed to come to my sixth birthday party in a couple of months. Unfair!

"Why did she have to leave?"

Mom had heard so many of these questions before. "Why?" "Because people miss their home, sometimes very much so." "Why her?" "Because everyone has a home."

"Why do all of my friends have to leave? All of them? That's unfair. Must everyone go?"


"Why me?"

Yes, mom, why does this happen to me? Why?

She just looked at me and -you know how it is, to look at someone's face right that very moment they can't hold it back any more?- her eyes began to water. Looking away, she brought the back of her hand up to cover her mouth.

My, oh my, oh my, oh my, did I do something wrong, am I in trouble? Did I just hurt her? What did I do? I must have said something terrible, I did not mean to!

She began to weep quietly. Suddenly I saw it was not just me... it also happened to her. She was also losing friends, places, roots. It was not my fault. So I hugged her, we cried together and, for a couple of minutes, my mother and I were the same.

We were friends.

I really should have seen it coming. We moved a couple of days after my sixth birthday.

Perpetual Motion
Next: People


  1. [OOC] You, my dear, have a way with words.

  2. ...and then there are those of us that you simply can't get rid of, no matter how hard you try!