They told me “home is where the heart is.” I had known this for a long time, but 5th grade me couldn’t help but miss the house on 60th street. If that house couldn’t be my home, I forever set out to find my actual home.
Fast forward 5 years in the future. Both my mom and my dad moved to new place, both of which would be (relatively) permanent.
Summer had arrived, and I found myself in a sea of tutus, music, and yummy breakfasts. We slowly began to open up and allow others in. We began to get a taste of the characters of others, the sweet, savory, and sour parts of their personalities, ones you couldn’t find anywhere else.
But time was ticking, and the restaurant was closing, and all you could taste was the salt from the tears of a community torn apart by time.
They don’t warn you about what’s next. A tight-knit community splits, its strings snap and get pulled apart under too much stress as it’s members go their separate ways, with the repeated phrase, “I’ll miss you.” 20 minutes before her flight, and I told her “I won’t forget you.” Her reply? “Give it two weeks.”
Locations run through my head. New York, Indiana, Texas, New Jersey, Chicago, Poughkeepsie, Las Vegas, Greenwich, Louisiana, Bloomfield Hills, Boston, San Francisco…
I scroll through my contacts, constantly questioning if I should be texting people “hey, how’s it going?” or just accepting the fact that I will be forgotten, or worse, that the memory of me and the living me will grow too far apart, and I won’t ever get back to those days liked me for me and not who they think I’ve become.
Yet I try to convince myself that giving pieces of your heart away is less about losing part of your self, instead, about a mutual exchange with others. I am not broken, I am not lost. I am quite the opposite. Any broken piece of me has been healed by skilled metalsmiths, welding on pieces of others so they fix the cracks where pain could seep in. I am not only me, I am an amalgamation of others.
Our strong hearts, the alloys of other hearts, forge unbreakable keys to the locks of our homes.
But this is why they told me, “home is where the heart is.” So I could never stick to one concrete place, one dot on the face of the earth, the location of my physical house. 15627 is not my heart, not my soul, and when I leave, it doesn’t mean I’m lost.
Instead, knowing I am at home wherever my heart resides, I know that I have a home everywhere, and for that I am thankful. I know that there are people, even ones who haven’t gotten the “how’s it going?” text in a while, who would open their doors if they knew I needed a place to stay. That’s home.