There’s No Place Like Home

Tokyo Google Maps screen capture

Tokyo Google Maps screen capture

Tokyo was everything that Iowa wasn’t. It was why he’d come.

Tokyo was civilized, urban, occupied and vibrant. Tokyo was vertical where Iowa was horizontal. Tokyo was fast where Iowa was slow.

He loved the ever-present crush of people, the novelty of towering over a crowd at the subway stop, the ease of talking to pretty girls eager to practice their English on the drawling American—who was maybe not so handsome by Mississippi Valley High School standards.

He’d come eleven months and twenty-eight days ago—hopped on the plane the day after graduation. Landed a job right away and was making a decent living teaching English at the junior college a short subway’s ride away.

But back in Iowa it was June—the month of a million greens, when the vast bowl of the Midwest becomes the Emerald City of growing things. And suddenly, intensely, completely: he missed it so.

150 words

 

This has been an edition of What Pegman Saw. To read more stories inspired by the prompt, click the blue button:

Phoning it in a little this week. My teenage son is in the hospital with mono, strep, influenza and pneumonia, plus a few accompanying complications. We’re on day four. And all I can think is: there is no place like home. And why do hospitals wake sick people up every 45 minutes?

PS J Hardy Carroll please excuse the use of the word ‘suddenly’. 😉 Got my adverbs on, eh?

22 Comments

  1. Aw. This is a sweet story. Well done.

  2. Excellent comparative tale. Karen, very well written.

    1. Very kind Neel, thanks for reading

  3. Aha, love this. As someone who’s meant to go and teach English somewhere soon, I can completely understand this emotion.

    1. Oh thanks! Quite an adventure you’re embarking on. Hope you don’t find yourself too homesick.

  4. (the ease of talking pretty girls – there might a “to” missing in this sentence?)

    You really captured the feeling of freedom contrasted with a longing for the security and routine of home.

    1. Ah I missed the “to”. Thanks for reading.

    2. I reread your post after reading Iain’s reply. Gosh! I’m so sorry about your son. After spending a few days in the hospital with my mom, I know exactly what you mean about the waking up part. It brings the line “No rest for the wicked” to mind and you wonder “How bad have I been?” Fingers crossed for a quick recovery.

      1. Thanks Alicia! Hope your mom is doing well.

  5. Nice tale of two cities (sort of). Hope your son recovers. One adverb per story is acceptable, right?

    1. LOL the number of adverbs allowed probably depends on who’s reading. Thanks for the kind words!

  6. Dear Karen,

    I guess it’s as they say…you can take the boy out of Iowa, but you can’t Iowa out of the boy. Hope your boy is on his feet soon. Take care of your own self, Mom. Wonderful story.

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

    1. Thanks much Rochelle. Hope we are home soon!

  7. Homesickness personified. Beautifully written. Love the line: “the month of a million greens”. It says it all!

  8. peterkirsch

    I lived in the mountain west for about five years. Once, I drove back to Iowa in late April to find the spring green was already in full force. Flowers, humidity, growing…that was when I realized I was a midwest boy at heart.

    That sentiment is well-captured here.

    1. I know exactly! I briefly lived in San Diego and moved back home in high July. Hard to believe a person could miss thunderstorms and 9000% humidity so much, but I did.

  9. David K

    I liked the way you’ve intertwined the feelings of hopes and disappointment. And the exactness of his time there really gives you a feeling of his slow-boiling sense of homesickness and alienation.

    1. Thanks so much. I’m feeling homesick myself so it probably helped 🙂

      1. David K

        You’re welcome. Hope the sickness subsides.

  10. Love his, how memories of home can assault us at different times of year, wherever we are now. I think green space would be limited in Tokyo?

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