It finally happened! I went home for five glorious days filled with driving around in my PT Cruiser, cuddling the little munchkins I missed so much, binge watching Grey’s Anatomy with my mother, and having lunch with my Gran and Granddad multiple times.
It was great! I surprised my little sisters at their bus stop after school and they ran right off the bus, throwing their arms around my waist. Raychel – the younger of the two – just kind of hung there for a while, smiling like the Devil and holding her legs up around mine.
“Did you miss me or something?” I asked. She giggled and hid her face in my coat.
Stepping foot into my house was a whole other thing. It felt…alien, almost. Like I was just a visitor, floating from city to city, with no real ties anywhere. I recognized the smell, but everything felt different, as though something had infiltrated my memory of the house, moved everything half an inch to the left, and dulled the colours only slightly. There are lyrics to a song, “Hurricane” by Halsey, that really resonated with me and played through my head when I walked through the front door.
Don’t belong to no city / Don’t belong to no man.
It’s true. I don’t belong to a single city. My home is in Mississauga, but all my things are in Ottawa. I slept on the couch while I was at home. It was a strange, surreal feeling; like I’d gotten into a spat with my former self and wasn’t allowed in bed that night.
The more I think about it, the stranger it seems. What does it really mean to have a home? What is it about one place that makes you ache when you leave, or when you haven’t been there in a while? Is it the people? The paint on the walls in a bedroom that isn’t even mine anymore? The way my stepfather parks the cars in the driveway like Tetris pieces? The way my baby sister cried the night before I left and couldn’t tell me the reason why?
I think I know the answer. It’s all of it. It’s the paint and the cars in the driveway and the crocodile tears on Raychel’s cheeks when I tucked her into bed. It’s the look on her face when I told her I’d be back before she knew it. It’s the smell of my mother’s oatmeal chocolate chip cookies and the smile on my stepdad’s face when he saw me.
It’s all of it.
Photo Credit: Kayla Randall Video Credit: HalseyVEVO
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.