The raw beams beneath my feet squeak after eras of wear, and the old warehouse is scattered with oscillating fans, having slept through the HVAC movement. I wander and weave between the labyrinth of booths if only to prod along the conversational ache of hardwood and to eavesdrop on the murmur of fan blades. I am home here among the rusted, paint-chipped, vintage silhouettes and the stories they would tell if words were theirs.
My mother likes to kid that she raised me in the back-roads antique shops of the South. Her "therapy", she called such pit-stops on these desolate highways. I used to loathe being dragged along the eternally winding aisles of cluttered shelves and ancient furniture. I couldn't understand why anyone would want to venture forth into the world of relics left over, but mostly my priorities were more child-like than antiques could entertain. Regardless, she would park her car, unbuckle me, and lead me inside. Those owners were just as humble as their shops, older and prone to the liberal use of Honey and Baby. I imagine they held their breath as I scampered in behind my mother's steps. None of these external factors would deter her, though, this was her salvation in a world of self-made chaos.
It's no wonder that my heart aged much more rapidly than it's vessel. Just as she reflects on my raising, I would swear I got lost in the mix of time. Even though I've long since moved out of my nest and away from her, some roots are too deep to shake loose. At the end of another work day, with the sour of homesick in my core, I set out in search of a refuge.
I found myself in the wondrous cave of this antique mall. I stood quiet before its floor-to-ceiling windows, open wide to swallow gulps of sunshine and breeze. To my right a big, white fan purred affections, smoothing back my hair in a maternal charade. I thought of summer days spent in my childhood home and the smell of Dad's fresh-cut grass slipping in between the honeycomb mesh of window screens. Then, there was a feeling of peace when nothing had yet hooked me, when I was still virginal and naive. I miss not worrying what I'm going to do with my life or how I will learn to survive the military staple of separation. It's strange how Home manifests itself in the old trinkets of other's pasts and in a man who wears camouflage and smells distinctly like Kenneth Cole.