I learned a lot from your paint-chipped walls, from your groaning heater, from your kitchen with the spray-painted window and the pile of dishes always in the sink.
You were the home of the boy I loved. The boy whose hands intertwined with mine on the edge of your roof, whose hips kissed mine, side by side on the sunny patch of grass next to your back door.
It was you that taught me to love again. You gave me comfort within your walls. You gave me both a place and a person to call home.
As the months passed, your creaking steps became familiar, the carpet became soft padding underneath my tired feet.
Your worn leather couch was my resting place. I watched TV, I watched college students take shots, I watched my world grow and crumble and change simultaneously. As I fell in love, as I lost myself, as I felt alone at a party in a sea of faces I could no longer recognize.
Your front steps were where I first held the boy I loved, kissed his cheek. Your upstairs bedroom was where I first said, ‘I love you.’ And your bathroom was where I cried after him and I fought.
You know my secrets, 646. The thoughts that creep into my mind at night when I’m alone in that upstairs bedroom, wishing for something different. Wishing to be loved more fully.
You see my face in that dirty mirror, reflecting back again and again and again. A hundred different faces with a blank expression. Searching.
You taught me to see life differently. That the exterior of anything does not determine its value. That a place is only a home because it feels like home. That when you love a person their space becomes yours. You become that space. Interchangeable. Intertwined. So much so that you are no longer you, when you aren’t a part of it.
I miss you, 646. I miss the way your lights were always on, the television always a background noise, the piano always out of tune.
I miss my shoes by the front door, a reminder that I belonged.
I miss the boy that I loved, whose face was always hidden in the shadow of that upstairs bedroom light. You taught me to believe in him. To trust creaking staircases and dirty floors. To believe in the words, ‘I’m in love with you,’ as the sunlight peeked through your curtained window.
You may not be mine anymore. But 646, touching you sure feels like home.