I was enrolled in a writing course during undergrad where our first assignment was to look abstractly at our definition of the word home. Broadly it was feelings I received alongside a coordinate on a map. I found a home to symbolize the togetherness of the humans I surrounded myself with. I never felt it was as if the word only amounted to the physical embodiment of a structure, but in this case, this residence has remained my home for so long.
After the age of one, I reached all my milestones at this address. I developed and grew while the structure remained the same. It was here that I ran under the countertops until I was too tall and slammed my head into the granite. It was here that my parents collected photos of me falling asleep in strange places. I would wake up on Christmas and excitedly run to the family room shake all the presents under the tree that Santa gave me.
My flowered wallpapered was plastered up before moving in and then stripped and painted electric blue when I challenged the femininity of my personality while being a sports fanatic in middle school. My eyes strained at the color and eventually more coats of purple paint covered the brightness because my mom wouldn’t let me paint the room black in high school. I left for college and it was redecorated and updated to keep up with my changing personality and maturity. It remains now like it is in the photo above in my memory.
I would sit outside on my driveway and stare up at the stars in the evening and understand how infinite life felt. I would walk my neighborhood and adventure with friends. I would leave and return feeling incredibly grateful for this home and where I grew up. This city has made an impact on my life that I always felt I would want to return and show the one I love the city that developed me, but I would never return here to live. It would be to walk down memory lane and highlight all the highs and lows throughout my time here.
Those feelings felt real this time more than ever. I stared down another move, and I have a feeling this could be the last time I ever reside at this residence. I am hitting the age where moving back in would seem counterproductive. I am pursuing the dreams to get myself established and that won’t happen in this home.
I have never known what it will be like to not be able to return to my childhood home and walk inside. I know my parents have desires to find themselves elsewhere as well. There is a chance that soon my room, which has only ever been my room, will become someone else’s. I took it all in before I left.
I started out my window at the view and saw the branches I used to climb sway slightly with the breeze. I looked around at the emptiness that remained. I pulled my bedroom door behind me and felt it latch shut. I gazed around the shared living areas and stepped outside. I watched out the car window as the garage door descended and closed. I looked back to see the flowers planted in the lawn I ran around and played in with our family dogs.
The trees in the neighborhood whipped past me and blurred into a green haze as I closed my eyes to remember that I was ready—I was ready to soon establish my own home.