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Monday evening. Soccer practice brought up complicated emotions, as it always does. The sight of strong young girls cavorting on the pitch, some still young enough to skip as they shag balls that have soared through the yawning and unnetted goalposts. The light fading a few minutes earlier each evening, as though I required a reminder that the world outside this sunlit field becomes a darker, less welcoming place by the day.

In This House

As some of you know, my family and I moved last summer, away from a house I loved, and had imagined I’d spend the rest of my days in. But it was time for a change, a psychic page turn. The house was beautiful, but our lives there were built on stories we told about ourselves that were no longer true.

It’s a good house, this new one. Unlike the last one, it’s not particularly fancy, or polished, or showy. It’s just a house, a blank canvas upon which we can project our idea of what a home should be: A refuge, a place of inspiration, a temple.

It’s an odd time to be building, when the world outside seems to be collapsing ever faster. I spend a lot of time in hardware stores, a near-daily ritual of buying the things I forgot the day before. Is it too early to save money by buying the “10-Year Rated” items instead of the “25-Year Rated” ones? How long before this place is no longer livable, before the people who want what we believe to be ours come to claim it for themselves?

I find myself more anxious than usual these days, and I’m coming to accept that my “anxious” may be different than other peoples’ “anxious.” There’s a harder edge now, an unwelcome questioning of myself and my place here. Strangely, the work of rebuilding this home does not soothe this disquiet, but instead seems to animate it.

I am writing as I build, too, diving deep into the story of my family, trying to divine what they have passed on to me and what is mine alone. Perhaps this disquiet, then, is only what I have asked for: To step into the place of mystery, of no answers. Of awakening each day and beckoning the story to coalesce around me like St. Elmo’s fire. Sometimes it does.

I thought—I hoped—it would be more easeful: a relaxing into this not-knowing, an acceptance. Instead, I find that it stirs up old and unwelcome dragons: The specter of my time here running out, of my own not-enoughness.

But there are embers of comfort to be found as I deepen into story: My grandparents daring to begin a family in the momentary calm of mid-20s Hungary, a charmed and illusory moment before the nightmare to come. Did they know then what was to be?

Do I?

Tomorrow I will wake up and beckon again. Is there any other option?

Seth Lorinczi