The prompt for this week asks us to write about a place in all of its sensory details where we felt safe. I wrote about two places that on the one hand represented safety, but on the other hand, in dreams and in reality, came also to mean intrusion and violation. I learned through writing this piece that safety can be temporary.
One place I wrote about was my childhood home. It was certainly my safe place, the place I retreated to when I divorced my husband with a two-year-old in tow. But in my dreams, I return to the house and have to find a hiding place. So, I do, in the laundry chute system between the attic and basement. I don’t know for sure if there was a chute in the attic bedroom closet, but in these dreams there was.
The other place I wrote about was a writing retreat center, a mecca of sorts for me for nearly twenty years. I found solace there after breaking up with someone, comfort when my mother was dying, camaraderie when I faced cancer surgery. I went there by the owner’s invitation when Hurricane Irene hit, because I didn’t want to weather the storm alone. Sure, the power went out there, too, but I was not alone. But a few years ago, I went into the kitchen to let the staff know how delicious the dinner was, and the owner lit into me–publicly. I was hurt, humiliated, and infuriated. I wanted to leave that night, but my writer pals talked me out of it.
I had occasion to return to that center this past August for a friend’s mother’s memorial service. After the luncheon, attendees started to disperse. The owner asked if he could walk me out. Sure, I said. He proceeded to apologize for that episode years ago. I appreciated the apology. Who knows? I may return there for another writing retreat this coming summer.
What is your safe place?