When I think of home, I think of summer nights on the back patio, gnats hanging still and heavy in the humid air. I think of the yellow bodies of lightning bugs like mini fireworks in the sky. I think of the smell of my father’s grill, of hotdogs wrapped in bacon and the first icy sips of lemonade leaving a sour-sweetness on my tongue.
I think of the way this all felt comfortable, slow.
When I think of home, I think of my mother’s voice flitting out from the kitchen window, the knife in hand and the rhythmic chop of onions on the cutting board. I think of soup bubbling on the stove and laundry in the dryer that smells like soft cotton and lilac flowers, a scent I would carry with me and try to emulate in my own apartment just for the familiarity.
When I think of home, I think of my dog’s fur and his legs pressing into my back when we sleep, and him taking up more than half the bed. I think of soft grass beneath my bare feet and rocks the color of lava I used to step on when I was a kid, watching the oranges and reds crumble into sand under my shoes.
I think of all the little things that turn a yard and four walls into a dwelling place.
When I think of home, I think of rollerblades on the concrete and spilling nail polish on the tile in the bathroom. I think of lazy spring afternoons curled up on the couch and baseball games on the television. I think of the hum of my mother’s voice on the phone with her friends and the clicking of my father’s keyboard mixed with the rhythm of my own.
I think of how the sounds and emotions of a place become natural, so much so that anything else feels foreign at first.
I think of all the ways I will never replicate that house, those memories. But will learn to build new ones with a family of my own someday—our own lawn chairs and swing set, our own grill cooking potatoes and steak, our own kitchen and pitter-patter of children’s feet on the hardwood floors, our own laughter and wine glasses and birds floating lazily through the sky.
Our own little haven, a home to make our own.