This is a little shrine in our home here on the island, a tiny house, with tiny versions of us in it. It may be made of clay, but it’s very us, disheveled, imperfect, hopeful, radiant, close together, matching deeply, different as night and day. The real live Shel has perhaps a bit less hair than his alter ego, and as for the alter me, she doesn’t like to wear a bra any more than I do. But to the core it’s us, snuggled together valiantly in whatever shelter we can find.
These days we’re talking a lot about what home means, and where it really is. Every day we do the same dance, the Do We Really Want to Leave Here dance. Every day the island seems more beautiful, harder and harder to leave. But then, we remind ourselves, not too long ago we felt the same way about leaving France.
The truth is that suddenly, without really meaning for it to happen, we have two homes, two nests, two shrines to our life together. And the bottom line in the France vs. US nesting wars always boils down to the same thing: so long as we’re together, that’s where home is.
Sometimes being together is the thing that drives us crazy, but mostly, it’s the thing we live for. Very soon we’ll be leaving this home, less than a week from now. Not soon enough we’ll hold Beppo and Zazou tight and apologize to them for the summer they’ve spent without us. We’ll be living for five weeks in a different part of France, the four of us, a family vacation. And then we’ll all go home together, to settle in once again, back into our French life.
Right now we scarcely have time to think about it all, so intent are we on packing and arranging, rushing around in a semi-frantic state of preparation. It’s exhausting, being bi-national, and we’ve been known to fall into bed some nights and start snoring before so much as a bonne nuit escapes our lips, let alone a goodnight kiss.
What makes it all possible though, all a thrill, is the fact that we’re together in this big world, no matter what. Wherever we find ourselves, that guy’s got me coming and going, and I’m here to stay.