It used to be as obvious as the color of my hair or the freckles on my face. A little green house off the corner of Oakmount and Rainbow road. Home.
Honeysuckle and daffodils. Fresh layers of evergreen paint carefully added by my dad each summer. Towering pines in the backyard that swayed in a thunderstorm. Hot chocolate and hide-and-seek. Hours of laughs, hundreds of dog eared picture book pages, countless memories. It was all I knew and seemingly all there could possibly be. Home.
Now, the little green house is hundreds of miles and a decade away. My story is twenty two years in the making. Childhood, high school, and college begin to blur together just over my shoulder. I am uncertain, raw, but hopeful still. I look and look for a feeling I cannot name. All at once I realize that I search for home.
Home is the only thing i have ever looked for since the day we closed the front door of the little green house.
But somewhere along the way, home lost its walls.
Home became a beat up Honda Accord, a bar where my shoes stuck to the floor. Home became relief and laughter and a couch to sink into after a long day. Home became songs and camp cabins and a student union building that never quite closed. Home became rambling phone calls with my mom as I wandered the grocery store aisles alone. Home became people with visions for a future i can’t wait to live in.
Since graduation, home has grown tenfold. Home has open arms in Chicago, Cleveland, New York, Cincinnati and right around the corner. Home is not as permanent as one might think but there’s always more of it to be found.
Home is everywhere and nowhere and the moment you realize that breaks and saves your heart, because there’s always someone I wish were here, but there’s always someone to turn to.
Maya Angelou spoke through time and black and white pages to me when she said,
“You only are free when you realize you belong no place — you belong every place — no place at all. The price is high. The reward is great.” I read her words and smile. How liberating it is, to think of how many places, how many people’s embraces, can give me that same feeling of the little green house.
There are so many ways to feel welcomed, to feel wanted, to feel home.