All my life I’ve made homes out of people.
Don’t get me wrong, that doesn’t mean I’ve only ever lived in others. I know how to exist within myself too; I’m familiar with my foundations, I always open my windows to let the sunlight in (although when it rains, I’m wise enough to close them and to bury myself in bed). I know when to water my garden, when to pull out the weeds. I know when to sit in silence and bask in my home, and I know when to invite people in. I know how to exist within myself – but I also know how to exist within others.
See, what I mean by that is that I’ve always given a piece of myself to the people in my life I’ve ever truly loved. I build something with them—family member or friend, once you mean something to me, you become home to me. A home in this world where it’s so damn hard to be human, to live. You become safety, familiarity, comfort—someone I can turn to when it all gets too overwhelming. And for years I’ve always trusted the people I’ve built homes in—and perhaps, perhaps that was my undoing.
The thing about home is that even it can go into ruin. When left untended, when left alone, then there is nothing left to take care of it. To nurture it. To breathe life and love and light into it.
Once there is nothing there, then the only ones left are ghosts. They haunt the once love-filled place, yearning, yearning for when it used to be more. For when it used to be home.
Sometimes I wonder why it’s so easy for some people to walk away from home. Why it’s so easy for them to pack-up and leave without a second glance, why it’s so easy for them to shove all their collected memories into a box and tape it shut. Wouldn’t it overflow? All the love, all the laughter, all the happiness you had in that home, with that person—wouldn’t it overwhelm you? Wouldn’t it be painful for you to just yank it out and pretend it was never there, pretend it was never yours—like an organ you forcefully threw up and left in the sink to float, float, float.
You let me float, float, float. I tried to hold you, you know. I tried to tend to our home, to rebuild it. I didn’t even mind the time it would take—I told you I’d wait, I’d wait. I’d replace the wood, repaint the walls, remove the rust off the doorknobs, clean the windows and trim the garden—no matter how long it took, even if I’d have been the only one doing it, I would have. I would have.
But you didn’t let me.
I guess the thing about home is that even it can go into ruin.
Author: Isabel Cruz
Author Bio: Isabel was born in The Philippines but raised in Singapore. She now has two places that she considers home. Isabel is a 20-year-old writer and poet who believes that stories are one of the strongest things on earth; she wants to be able to weave ones so beautiful she could inspire generations. As of right now, however, she is eagerly and enthusiastically publishing her work on Instagram and Harness Magazine.
Link to social media or website: https://www.instagram.com/isabel.dcruz/?hl=en