The buzzing in my head

It’s a quiet night and I can hear the buzzing in my head even more than usually. I remember exactly when it became a part of my life. It’s only a few years ago that I dropped out of uni and folded up my tents. I moved out of my apartment, muted my phone and later turned it off. For everyone who knew me, I disappeared off the face of the earth. My family didn’t know where I was and how I was doing and the little room, which had a single window facing a dark wall, became my home for the next months. That room mirrored my inside and the darkness in my room had also filled me, and it hummed in every silent moment against my ear with this deep buzzing sound.

This buzzing might drive me crazy one day, but right now it is not an issue. Right now it is simply my body that tries to warn me of everyday stress, but I can’t find time to recover from it. Back then I used to have a lot of time. Time to deal with myself and at the same time define where I am and where my home is. I cannot count with my two hands how often I moved and that’s why I can’t talk about one place that feels like home. My parents didn’t come from where I grew up and their parents had left their home as well. That’s why my roots are more attached to people than to places or a story. I shed those roots radically when I disappeared. But every person needs a home. A safe haven where one can return to. I need a home. My safe haven is somewhere inside of me. I can’t remember when I built that haven, but now, in the middle of the night I can hear a humming foghorn that warns me. It warns me of sharp stones in the water, against which I should not surge. So I stay outside on the water, but always close. The water splashes against the frail wood of the boat and the waves rock me back and forth. They rock me to sleep.

When I wake up in the morning, the foghorn has faded away and I am calm. The sleep brought me a step back to myself, just like the current of the sea would have flushed me to the shore. Slowly I get back in touch with my family, but it is hard to face them again. None of them has judged me, but they don’t need to, as I am better at that than they are. There is no better accuser, no sharper judge and no colder headsman than me. My head has landed on the wickerbasket and the knife of the guillotine blinks in front of my eyes, as the blood throbs out of my neck. Going your own way is strange and I wonder how much that feeling of guilt influences my everyday doings. Is it that feeling that makes me help people without asking for anything in return? How often did friends want to give something back and I put them off. It seems to me, I haven’t deserved the gratitude. I owe them.

My mind notices the mistake but the buzzing in my ears gets louder. It makes me forget that I didn’t do that much wrong. Or did I? Didn’t those anxious days my family had to endure because of me carry such a severity that I will never be able to repay them? My behaviour has led me to this insight:

The moments that made me feel far away from my family shouldn’t be able to cut our ties. They may be political ties or professional paths or even love. All this might seem to some wrong. But the ties that keep us as family together aren’t as thick and strong as I always thought. No, they can be incredibly fragile. We should stick together and help each other out. We should forgive and listen. This one home can get lost. Cherish it!

Steffen Gärtner

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