I have known many houses in my lifetime. I have been a wanderer of sorts, a nomad tied to my family and pulled along like a kite on a string. I have sat in window seats with books stacked at my side, warmed my toes by fireplaces built into the walls of my youth. I have known rooms painted midnight-blue and sea-glass green, palest-pink and storm-cloud grey. I have known rented rooms, townhouse noises, and apartment floors.
But there is only one place that has ever truly felt like home.
The house sits just before the curve of the street; the driveway is unbroken by a sidewalk and the grass is mostly clover in the front yard. There’s a tree on the neighbour’s lawn and the branches dip down over the asphalt in the winter, dropping closer as the boughs grow heavy with snow. When spring comes, my stepfather trims back the limbs so they won’t scratch the tops of the cars when they grow back. In the summer, my mother hangs baskets of flowers from ornate hooks on either side of the garage, full of pink begonias and purple pansies. At Halloween, we spread fake spider webs along the bricks that lead to the front door and a giant felt spider that’s been around for longer than I can remember hangs beside the mailbox.
That’s just the outside.
Inside, the walls hold more memories than I can count. Christmases and birthdays, New Year’s Eve bashes and my parents’ baseball team celebrating both wins and losses. The smell of cookies wafts from the kitchen into the living room, where my stepdad watches baseball or old episodes of The Sopranos. I've had heart-to-heart chats with aunts and cousins around the dining room table and I've stumbled to the powder room in a drunken stupor to toss my cookies into the porcelain bowl. I have chased my sisters around the main floor, listening to their giggles of joy.
That is my home. That is where my soul lives. That is the place I will always return to.
As of this moment, I am 470 kilometres away. I packed up most of my belongings, my personal possessions, and moved here, to Ottawa. I don’t regret it, and I don’t hate the place I’m in. But I’ll be damned, where I live doesn’t feel the same as home.
This is my journey, my homesickness, my thoughts.
Photo Credit: Screen capture from Time and Date
Kayla Randall is a 20-year-old aspiring novelist with a passion for coffee, books, and driving around her hometown. Eldest of five siblings, she often misses home in Mississauga, but is still having the time of her life living in Ottawa and trying to make her mark in the literary world.