Home used to be a place.
It used to mean quiet mornings with loud sibling voices, sunlight streaming through the dust speckled windows to paint the room with summer. I remember being seven and waking up to my parent's laughter, stumbling into the kitchen of oak to watch them leaning into one another over the coffee table. The tile on the floor was cold, but I remember thinking that the house was warm.
Home was a place of safety during the storms, where rain could batter but could never get in. It was the cream colored carpet and the fire blazing during the winter months. It was where I chased the small lop-eared puppy up the stairs and where exhaustion trailed after me on the way down every morning. It was comforting and familiar. It was where the smells were always sweet no matter whether it was half-baked cookies or lemon wood cleaner. It was mine.
Then things changed. I changed.
The walls dissolved and the people dispersed. Home became a word I didn't have a definition for. It became something I longed for nostalgia. I remember sitting in loud coffee houses wishing for it. I remember typing on stained laptops hoping to create it, to carve it, to find it. I looked for it in my sorrow and didn't understand when I couldn't find it. I told myself that this is what growing up meant. That home was a childhood ideal something I would have to learn without.
Then things changed again. I changed again.
I met a boy, but not just a boy. I met a man with pianist fingers and eyes that reminded me of that small lop-eared puppy. He smelled like cake batter and Christmas. His hands were always warm, no matter how cold it was outside. I remember the first time we kissed and our teeth clicked. It hurt, but the good kind of pain. The kind that reminded me that it was real.
Sometimes, when it's quiet in the morning, he rolls over to press his nose into my hair and I think about the way he rolled into my life. Natural. Expected. Inevitable, even. Like a wave pressing up on an unsuspecting beach. I remember trembling the day we met. The fear rolling through my veins the uncertainty. I had felt lost. The worst is that I hadn't even known just how lost I was. That is, until he said my name. It clicked, like a clock striking the new hour.
Home. I was home.