On Home by Kathryn Larkin
It was somewhere near the age of thirty when it happened – although I think it’s safe to say that it’s somewhere near the age of thirty when a lot of things happen, when we ask bigger questions than we thought ourselves capable of, when we feel the uproarious victory of finally completing and filing our taxes correctly get slightly quashed by the knowledge that the onslaught of time is going to overcome our previously assumed immortality. But, momentarily brushing that crushing reality under the superficial rug of adulthood (a rug that is hand-woven from the unimportant and yet socially mandatory accomplishments we are conditioned to brandish, such as the ability to distinguish between a good and a bad cup of coffee, or the ability to afford your own HBOGo account), the story begins the same way: it was around the age of thirty when I slowed down, took a breath, sat down hard on a flat surface in a concrete-covered public “park” and realized: I want to go home.
A brief history of my life is relevant, I suppose; it is moderately interesting at best, and that is an outrageous overstatement. I am, however, as they say these days, ‘cagey as fuck,’ so I’m gonna go ahead and replace my actual realities with fictional substitutes we can all relate to.
I grew up in Pleasantville/Fairfield/Arlington/Madison… you know, that small town in the Midwest, on Main Street. I grew into my body and established my idiosyncrasies in a 4-bedroom house with impeccable landscaping. My parents were quiet, but loving; strict, but not mean; Republican, but it’s not their fault. After a relatively uneventful childhood, I went to the most wonderful of schools, where I trained in a niche, arcane, and probably dying field, so for the purposes of this fabrication, let’s say I specialized in Ancient Runes at Hogwarts. Upon graduation, I moved not far from Hogwarts, settled in to the lovely town of Hogsmeade, and started Ancient Runeing my ass off. I expertly crafted a ten-year plan, not of my own volition, but because it was a requirement when I applied for a part-time gig at Lululemon (because careers in Ancient Runes pull in about as much money as you think they do). I didn’t get the Lululemon gig (this would become a recurring theme in my young adult life, so may I publicly say fuck them and their incredibly durable leggings), but I did manage to accomplish everything in my ten-year plan in about four years thanks to a combination of caffeine, an inability to slow down, a programmed fear of failure infused with a feminist agenda, and a pretty solid helping of luck.
No one was more surprised than myself, and, to my further amazement, a long-shot job application followed by a shockingly competent Skype interview landed me a new boss and a new position in an impressive network. Since the Ancient Runes analogy has limitations, and also J.K. Rowling never really went into what they are with the exception of what she needed for the plot of Book Seven, let’s trade this trope in and switch to something equally as niche… I was hired to work internationally, behind the scenes, on high-profile, elite projects. For the purposes of this fabrication, let’s say I became an International Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Dig the rest of this tongue-in-cheek recollection in SN11: Collect Rocks – available on Amazon Sept. 16th!