By Laura Grafham
Where is my home, people ask of me. I’d like to know, too; if you tell me I shall blow kisses to you through the air, floating out from letters on the page.
To avoid asking the question of myself, I’ve found it easier asking other people about their home. When I look inside, shaky and nervous, the signal comes in like fuzzy radio waves, announcers burping out past memories and words like gunshots:
The dogwood trees I climbed as a kid. Now my brother climbs them. My mother shouts through the windows. The teakettle screams. My brother is more at home in trees than I am now. And I mourn my loss. He is 13 and runs track. He is the wind.
His hair is my home and I smell it and know. He still uses Johnson’s Baby Magic shampoo of his own free will; it squeaks him clean and naïve in the shower, no exponential young man odor. His short stubbly head is a blond hedgehog that weaves and dodges away from hugs and arms. This doesn’t mean it isn’t mutual, and we both know this. It is mutually understood that he is a teenager, that he does not touch family or female sisters with affection.
We are mischievous at each other with each weave of our limbs, our eyes making electric charged electrodes out across the airwaves — we are on the same frequency.
He isn’t old enough to know what I know, but he is wiser than I am in his own secret way. We both know it. He has patience and I don’t. He has 13-year-old style and grace, married with an awkward body and mind. It is beautiful, and this is why I try to hug him.
Examining living human beings with my eyes, I tie strings from my heart to theirs. When they tug on my foundation it hurts. But isn’t this the only way to be home?
The gap between home as a location and a feeling grows more and more numerous with the passing of time and age. My foundation is mobile, has wheels, needs gasoline and oil changes from time to time. I don’t build my home to stay put, and neither do the people I care about. We build it around each other.