I’m writing this from my aunt’s spare bedroom. By the time you read it, I’ll probably be home, curled up in my bed, petting my cat and sipping coffee. The AC will be on, and a candle burning. The string lights will be twinkling around our room, and I’ll probably be reading.
I’m trying to figure out when things became different – when “away” and “home” switched definitions. I thought it was maybe around the time of my sophomore year of college. That winter, when I decided to stay in my small college town with my roommate rather than spend the month+ miserable in my hometown. But sometime before that, my life picked itself up and moved itself. Or maybe I did. Maybe I had been carrying it around with me for a while, just looking for a place to settle it down.
It won’t stay here for long. In less than a year, I’ll graduate with my bachelor’s degree, and go off into a future unknown. I’ll set up another temporary home for graduate school, and tear it down again when I get my master’s. I’m okay with that.
Freshman year, I had three roommates. We lived in a four-person room, each with our own, individual bedroom and a shared living/kitchen area. It was nice. I liked it there. There was a good view of campus from our second-floor window, and it was usually quiet, and not too cluttered, and all of my things were in their place. It was neat and tidy – I still miss it sometimes. My roommates (and others on the floor) would sometimes complain about missing home, wanting to go home, they couldn’t wait to go home. Some people would leave every weekend – Friday afternoon ‘till Sunday night. I didn’t understand it. I dreaded going home. I hated it, and when I did, I couldn’t wait to get back. My dorm was the only teeny, tiny space in the world that belonged to no one but me. I loved it there.
That summer was awful. I couldn’t wait to move back for my second year that August.
I never looked back.
It could be that “home” was never home in the first place. My parents moved me around so often, and things were never stable, financially or otherwise. I was always more of the adult than either of them were.
I’ve worked hard the last three years to make my life better than what I’ve been given, and I’ve done a pretty good job, I think. I’m spending time with my family this week, and I love them, and I’m happy to be with them. But on Sunday, when I pack up my things and leave, I’ll be going back to something worth missing. And I built that on my own.