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Coming Home

I’ve had six houses;

The first of which was a little house I can barely remember. I was just a miniature person running around in pastel coloured dungarees and pink wellington boots. I moved into house number 2 when I was a toddler and it’s still a part-time holiday home to me now, nineteen years later. I used to drink apple juice in that house during childhood parties, vodka under the cover of night when my parents were asleep, and now I drink wine – chilled and crisp during a civilised evening because I’m an adult, thank you very much. That’s what we do.

Other houses have come and gone; my memories of some foggier than others. One of them was lonely. I remember a broken boiler, a relatively serious ant-problem and feeling fractured, sitting on the sofa in desperate, confused tears. The fifth house was happier, filled with swirling cigarette smoke and flashbacks of dancing on the chairs until I couldn’t be vertical anymore. Party hats and neighbourhood cats and a conveyer belt of friends, some who stayed and some who have moved to opposite ends of the country. House number six is warm and comforting and smells of cinnamon, laundry powder and violet creams. All of these houses have provided me structure and shelter and solidness, but none of them are home.

Home is; warm, yellow sunlight dancing through the windows and spilling onto the carpet. The songs that make my heart swell and blood rush to my head. Laughing until my belly aches. Hot, sweet tea on a really cold day. Being reminded that I’m valued when I feel anything but. The air when it’s crisp and thick with the magic of red and orange leaves, pumpkins and spices. Freshly washed bed sheets, scented with the fabric softener my mum used. Fluffy bed socks making contact with the carpet. His hands running through my hair. Rolling green hills peppered with fluffy, white sheep. Sunlight on my naked skin. The leather jacket that fits really, really well. Openness. Reliability. A cigarette in the quiet of the early morning. Unexpected kindness. A smile from a girl in the street. The bustle of department stores in December. Standing in a crowd singing until my lungs give out. Sun cream and sand. A bowl of chips, a dispenser-coke and lots of ketchup. The buzz of a party you know you’re not cool enough to be at. The solace of a best friend’s car. A helping hand from a perceptive person who knows when I’m too scared to ask. A really good book. Life-affirming films that make my eyes fill up and send tears tumbling down my cheeks. Being asked to stay. Long bus journeys listening to my favourite podcast. The power of words. The last few minutes of sunlight. Excitement for what’s to come.

I am my home.

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