The navel gazing didn't go well. I called my sister to confirm the address. I said, hey sis, what's the address of the Ellenwood house? I'd found the right house, but it's not like some mystical force pulled me to it—my parents probably drove me by it more than once during my childhood—and to be honest, I was hoping that the white house with the black shutters, decked out with a tacky nativity scene and red bows on the shrubs would be my house—but we don't choose the house of our birth. Jesus was born in a manger. There was no room at the inn.
I don't have much to do with this house either. My parents moved here—finally—many years after all of their children left the nest. I left the nest 16 years ago, though even sixteen years later there are still some leaves and little bits of string and maybe some torn up bits of plastic grocery bag still clinging to me. How far away must I move to get this piece of used Band Aid off my head? I'm not sure it will ever come off, my mother offered. And it's true: our homes are not bits of debris that are stuck to us. They're bits of debris that are stuck in us. Is that good?, I asked my dad—he'd been going about with a yellow pole that has a suction cup on one end, changing recessed light bulbs in the ceiling—yeah, maybe, he said, as he disappeared down the basement stairs.
This is Sperm and Eggs, a "painting" I made, I don't know—damn!—five years ago when I lived on Logan Blvd in Chicago. It now resides among the masses of other family heirlooms (and junk) my parents inherited and acquired through the years, stuff from both sides of the family that once could expand nicely into our home on Merton Ave. (not pictured) but which now must be crammed into the basement of this house. I was down there last night, poking around, mentally putting my name on things that one day will expand into my home, wherever that will be and with whomever.