Chapter 1 - Homeward Bound
“Home,” I repeat, “at least for now anyway,” I add, half joking half serious, as I give my brother the side eye awaiting him to take the bait. 5, 4, 3, 2-
“Please. You have a fully funded place, at the same college as your TWIN brother, in the business school, WITH a martial arts programme, YOU are not going anywhere.” He bites.
“We will see,” I reply. Slyly happy that I got a rise out of my brother.
It’s the little wins when you're a twin.
My brother just nudges me in response realising too late that I got a rise out of him and goes back to looking over my shoulder out the window as we begin to land.
We are actually extremely close - he is my other half. My parents greatest gift to me was him. But because of this, the thought that I am going to leave him and go to another college or potentially another town has brought a little anger out in him.
I won’t move, I love them too much and this is the perfect opportunity. Funded opportunity. I just don’t like the fact that he and my dad are assuming that I’m all settled and I have no other options. There are always options.
Having spent our entire life travelling the world for my mum and dad’s job, we are finally settling down. We are heading ‘home’ to settle and spread mum’s ashes. It does feel nice. Something about this place already makes me feel content and I’m not even off the plane yet. But if it doesn’t work out at least I will be able to fill in that hometown box on Facebook.
We promised my mum we would take her to her childhood home to rest. That was always the plan. Eventually we would come back here. My mum and dad’s hometown. Where they grew up together and where they met. But she was supposed to be alive when we did. So we are going home without her - it is what she wanted. I've never felt like I had a home. It’s hard when you move so much, I am certain it has moderately fucked me up with forming relationships. I’ve been told I fear commitment - I don’t. I fear getting attached and having to move 3 months later. I fear not being wanted.
My dad was high up in intelligence, he wasn’t a spy or anything exciting like that, that would be cool. But I was pretty sure he worked for one of the big organisations. He’s never really told us any details, he always kept it pretty vague, but we bounced around from country to county and embassy to embassy every couple of years or less. Despite it’s issues, we were happy. We stuck together and every country we went to we would learn the language and would enrol in the nearest martial arts school. As a result my brother and I are a few flying kicks away from being ninjas. Multi-lingual ninjas. It was due to my dad's paranoia about us being able to protect ourselves and communicate in foreign countries that we would do this every time we moved. Especially during the times that things got bad, dangerous even, and they would come home late and leave early, IF they came home.
It had its flaws, like many “protector'' jobs the work often consumed them and that would be when I would step up and take the ‘mother’ role, even for my parents. There would always be some terrorist scare and selfishly those were the times where I would feel truly unwanted. Like we were a burden to my parents who were trying to save the world. I shouldered the responsibilities during those times, often shared with a random Nanny until we were in our teens. Then we were just left on our own.
I don’t resent them for it, I truly don’t. They are good people with bright minds and in a position to save many. But it still sucked, and I still felt unwanted, even though they tried their hardest to not make me feel that way.
Since my mum's death, my dad has actually been amazing. I can tell he’s finding it hard but he’s handling it all really healthily. He talks about her. He communicates. He treats us like adults. He works less, perhaps because he no longer has my mother to enable his workaholic life.
We have become a solid trio. We had to, we lost one of our main pillars. My mum was my dad’s partner. She was fierce and outspoken and smart and funny. She balanced him out. When he was the bad cop she’d be funny to lighten the mood. When she was the bad cop he’d calm her down. They were the proverbial ying and yang.
She’d be happy we are moving here.
It’s a town on the outskirts of two large cities. We decided to go to the college here. We both got fully funded due to our martial arts backgrounds and their martial arts programme which is the best in the country. But aside from that, I had a yearning to live here in my mum's hometown, maybe I think it will keep me closer to her for longer? I’m studying business and my brother is studying physical education. Staying local will save us some cash, keep us close with each other and our dad and allow us to try and make some friends and put down some roots.
It’s a solid plan.