Home is a funny thing, isn’t it? Some people have a very clear, very happy definition of home. Home is family. Home is comfort. Home is that place that you can always return to. For others, home is not a place but a person. Wherever he or she is, as long as you are together, you are home. Some people can only dream of any kind of “home,” and for some others, “home” is what their nightmares are made of. Home is something that can stir anything from the darkest to the warmest memories. Sometimes I wonder how a single word, a single idea, can have so many different connotations and can evoke so many varying feelings. But then again, I wonder a lot. About a lot of different things. I spend a lot of time in my own head. Wandering into its depths. Exploring the dusty corners and dark alley ways of my soul. Sometimes I even dare to leave the flashlight behind. I guess in some sense, you could say that my mind is my home. My soul is my home.
“Excuse me.” I am suddenly thrust back into reality when a woman’s husky voice reaches my ears. I scoot to the side of the aisle I am currently occupying. I look up and smile, receiving no such reply. I sigh to myself as I watch the stranger in the green peacoat shuffle impatiently through the store. I feel a slight weight in my hands and glance down to remember once again that idea of home. That strange, strange word. A version of which sat in my very hands. The word, carved from wood and painted a distressed blue, had caught my eye as it sat on a shelf occupied with many other decor items marked with the bright red sticker: “SALE.” Ha. Home is on the clearance rack. I noticed a small chunk missing out of the upper left corner of the “H” and a crack wrinkled across the “O.” Kind of fitting, I thought. My home is also broken. I wonder if anyone would even pay the sale price for a home like mine.
I put “home” back on the shelf. As I begin to walk away, I suddenly feel home tugging me back. Is this what is feels like to be forever drawn to the place where you grew up and where your family resides? Huh. This is new. I decide to give home a chance. I grab the broken, cracked word and make my way towards the checkout counter. This word may have a few pieces missing, but everyone deserves a home. Even home itself. Clever, I think to myself. I smile. The clerk thinks I’m smiling at her, so I pretend that I am. “Hi there. How are you doing today?”
“Fine, thank you. Is this going to be everything for you today?”
I hand over the cash, refuse a receipt, smile again. “Thank you. Have a good day!”
I don’t even receive so much as a grunt of agreement. What is it with people today? Maybe they, too, have a broken home. Maybe they could use a wooden reminder that home comes in many shapes, sizes, colors, and textures. An ad idea flashes through my mind: “Don’t be sad, buy a new home on clearance today!”
The cold wind hits my face as I step out onto the street. March 17th. Where’s the sunshine? New York could use a little sunshine today. So could I. I make my way to my current home with my new home waiting patiently in a paper bag. This “home” thing could get awfully confusing. Good thing no one else can hear my thoughts.