HOME IS NOT FOUND ON MAPS


It all feels a little different to how it used to. Years ago I’d find my comfort in the dull flicker of the television, meaningless Tuesday night showings seeping from the screen into the dimly lit living room.

It’d arrive in the form of home cooked dinners, knives and forks clanging on the table as a piping hot chicken pie was placed carefully at the centre. Four chairs scraping against the floor. “Don’t touch the plates, kids, they’re hot.”

Comfort would be hiding under the pleated duvet of my loft bed, warm and dark, not the breeding ground of the nightmares of adult life which form there now, but peace, serenity, a place for my tired and carefree body to rest.

When I was a kid, home was a singular place. Our little house, in our little town, just me, my sister, mum and dad. Brick walls. Carpet floors. A physical being. Unaware of arguments, debt or sadness, home was that blissful clicking of the key in the lock after a long day at school, running under my mum’s arm as she pushed the door open, grabbing for a snack and kicking my Velcro shoes off as I settled down to watch my favourite afternoon specials.

Home was coming downstairs on Christmas morning to see a large sparkling tree, its roots of wrapping paper and ribbon sprawling across the living room floor. My grandparents laughing faces as I squealed at a bike shaped mound of tissue paper by the fireplace. Home was happiness. Home was family. Home was a place which nothing could ever go wrong.

As I grew older, I started to notice the cracks in the walls. Waking up, bleary eyed and aware of a draft on my feet at 6am on my sister’s birthday, I stumbled downstairs to see our front door wide open, dirty boot prints leading to the living room and an empty wooden unit where yesterday the television had stood.

Home instantly became somewhere penetrable. A place which didn’t block out all of the bad things. They could still find their way in, seeping through the walls, dripping down the chimney, picking the locks in the early hours of the morning and sneaking through our house while I lay dreaming.

But things continued. Even without our television set. Home was still home. It dawned on me then, at the age of 12. Home is not a place. It’s not the mountains of possessions which fill it. It’s not the Sunday night sitcoms blaring from the living room, the whirring of the washing machine or the low buzz of the radiators.

It’s my mum, slippers and dressing gown, humming an indistinguishable song in the kitchen as she searches for the tea bags. It’s my dad, two-stepping with the vacuum cleaner as he whizzes it across the landing. It’s my sister, plugging in the shower radio and belting out show tunes while she gets ready to work a night shift.

Home is every belly laugh, every joke cracked, and every familiar voice you’ve ever heard. It’s the things that you miss when you’re away. The parts of your life which are constant and you can’t wait to return to.

Home doesn’t have to be found in a house. I’ve found it in people. I’ve found it in friends. I’ve found it within the pages of books at 3am, when I can’t sleep and miss the sound of my mums laugh. I’ve found it in the smell of a coffee pot boiling in an empty café. Two years ago I even found home in a person who has tipped my world upside down and made me feel as giddy as those after school specials once did.

Most importantly though, I’ve found home in myself. It is no longer a physical being with four walls and a roof. Home is tucked away in my pocket. Home is rooted deep inside my chest, right beside my beating heart.


2 comments :

  1. Lauren, this was stunning! Your writing is so emotive and I just felt every part. This has really inspired me to whack out a notebook and get writing again. It's been far too long since I've done any creative writing, so thank you!

    Olivia - The Northernist x

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  2. I absolutely loved this, and followed you on bloglovin so I'll be checking in more frequently now. Every paragraph made me smile and think a little more about what is home to me. When I was in elementary, I was always afraid of moving house- afraid of moving away from the place I made all my first memories in, but as I grow older and am just at the beginning of experiencing newer things, I'm learning. xx

    Kyia at WANDERLUSTGIRL// Lifestyle & Beauty
    Let’s be BLOGLOVIN friends!

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