The longest I’ve ever lived anywhere was in my last house with my folks. I was there for a record breaking eight years, the longest I’ve ever lived in one house. As a result, it’s what I most think of whenever I think of “home”. The apartment here felt less like my home and more like, “place where I sleep and keep stuff”. For the longest time, when I talked about North Carolina and Durham, I’d say “Back home,” as though I were just on an extended vacation and I would be returning again at some point.
But over the last few months that’s been slowly changing.
But I’ve started dropping that when I talk about back down South. And I’ve begun to sink more roots down here. There are bus drivers I see every day. There are co-workers, there’s a job, there’s a semblance of a life forming.
When we first moved in, we were sleeping on an air mattress on the floor. We kept our few appliances on chairs. We had a couple of books to our name. And there was no pesty little bird running around on the floor biting at toes.
Now, we have a bed and we brought out the air mattress for Liang to sleep on when he came to visit (because we had a guest!). We have some pieces of actual furniture. Our shelf is slowly filling up with books. And there’s a pesty little bird who runs around on the floor biting toes.
When I walk through the apartment at night, I know where to step without turning on the lights. I know where the floor creaks. I know which burners on the stove cause trouble. I know the sounds of the radiators and their pops and whistles don’t wake me anymore. I know the sound of the lock in the door when Emily is coming home.
And it is home, because it feels like home.