Home is where the heart is, however her physical home appeared to be constantly changing and she had her things spread out across three different states, so it is hard for her to pinpoint home sweet home at the moment. She preferred it this way in fact, and would tend to leave her mark or a piece of her in every place that she had visited and as many places as possible. She didn’t have a calling card by any means, and was no graffiti artist who would boldly place her name across multiple train cars, but she did look for moments to do things to make others smile. She had picked up the habit of drawing scenes on napkins for servers to discover, and taking the time to listen to strangers who needed someone to talk to. She looked for ways to make others randomly smile and feel a sense of community with fellow man, and she made herself at home wherever she went.
She saw a home as someplace that she could be herself and someplace she felt like a part of the community that surrounded her. Home had never meant just a physical place to her, and “I’m going home,” meant more that she was ending the evening and seeking time for solitude. Home was wherever she happened to be sleeping that night, and she made herself comfortable in all types of homes. At one time, home was where she grew up; it was a green house in a small, yet rapidly growing city that preserved the ability to walk to everything you need. It was a lawn that was never kept, and a house full of commotion that never seemed to sleep all at once. It was a place where all the people she new best lived, and the place where she was free to make mistakes and be forgiven with love. It was a place of innocence and optimism for the future.
Another time, home was her college campus; a small community placed on top of a mountain that ebbed and flowed with the seasons of the university. It was a place of unpredictable weather that demanded you to be prepared for all the elements, no matter what time of year it was. It was a dorm room and living in tight quarters with her peers, and becoming comfortable with living life on her own while being surrounded by people constantly. It was always bringing new faces to her life, and filtering out the faces that were not contributing to her home in the way she was looking for. It was a place where responsibility and irresponsibility were in a constant balancing act, and she was holding the scale.
Her home had once been an apartment filled with a variety of personalities that did not mesh well and did not want to work well together. It was a place that worked her like a slave and paid her like one too. It was a place where she lost all her close acquaintances to the discipline of their employer, and had to recreate her group of friends after the first two months. It was a place where her first significant boyfriend broke up with her and she had no one to turn to for comfort except her pillows. It was a place of unpredicted growth and struggle that she was not sad to leave behind.
Her home had also been a remodeled brewery tucked into the neighborhood surrounding the university she studied at in England. It was where she had gone through withdrawal from the comforts of her life in the states and was reborn to some extent. It was a place that was full of people that were curious about her and her foreign ways, yet resisted to welcome her into their home. It was a community from around the world that supported her and explored with her, based on the common denominator that they were all out of place. It was a place that celebrated her for her individuality, and allowed her to explore the homes that others have created for themselves.
Her home now is a place with plenty of character and so much history in its walls that she feels like a guest in someone else’s story. It is a picturesque farmhouse, perched on top of a slight hill, surrounded by fields of farmland. Although it is not that far outside of town, it feels like it is in a world of its own and secluded from the cramped college housing that dominates the city. Driving along the narrow country road that leads to its driveway, you can spot it from afar, like a beacon of character in the distance. It has a presence about it that is undeniable. All who have visited her in her new home find it refreshing, and a chance to escape from the busy pace of their normal life. She finds that it serves a similar purpose in her life as well.
She had previously been living in the stressful situation that is moving back home with her parents after being so very free to act as she pleased at college. Although she loved her mother deeply, she was not meant to live with the woman. Her mother had cultivated a strong spirit in her daughter, and it was coming back around to hit her now with their constant clashing of strong headed opinions and spontaneous screaming matches. Her home then had been a place that she did not like to return to, and would avoid unless it was vacated by all other tenants. It was a place that she knew she should love and cherish, but could not bring herself out of blinded anger and frustration to. It was a place where she assumed she would be treated with the respect of an adult, and she was, but that was also followed by coddling and a knee-jerk reaction by her mother to want to control her daughter’s life that appeared to be spinning out of control. It was a place of promises being made that were never kept, and actions being discussed but never taken, it was a place where time seemingly stood still. She had once wished that she could stall or turn back time in this home; back to the time when her family had been together as normal, and she was caught up in her own world of menial teenage cares, and they all lived in harmony in the large suburban home. This home had changed much over time, and it was hard to recognize when she returned many years after her family and the harmonic home had been shattered into pieces. It was no longer the place that she rushed home to in hopes of not breaking curfew, it had become the place that she stumbled home drunk and high to in the early hours of the morning. It had become painful for her to live there, despite the amount of love that this home had previously embodied. Which is why she needed to yet again, find a new home.
Her home now is a place of peace and inspiration, that she sought out after years of blind struggling. It is a place that she is relieved to return to, and keeps her actively moving towards what she seeks in life. It is full of people, yet large enough that she can find a secluded place to think and sip on the character that surrounds her in the walls. It is a place that is not empty, even when she is the only living soul in the house. It demands respect for its old age, and reminds you of the back-in-the-day when things moved a little slower and with more purpose. It is an island of refuge for the tired soul that she contained, and an unexpected blessing that occurred in the chaos of her migration North. It is a white house, with peeling paint, a yard large enough for frisbee and a rope swing secured to the sturdy walnut tree. It has space for writing in the afternoon sunshine, space for growing and nurturing plants into food for tomorrow, and space for playing with the dogs in the yard while barbecuing a feast for friends. It was a place that she had blindly moved to, with faith being placed in her brother to find agreeable coinhabitants to contribute to the bills. It had become more meaningful to her than she had ever expected, and more of a home than any other place she had previously laid her body to rest. It is cold, drafty, hot, creaky, old, full of character, a step back in time and occupied by a girl looking for exactly that.