“Yes, yes. No. I understand…”. I stop the engine of the car. I struggle to focus on the subject of the phone conversation.
I look into the mirror just above my head. S starts complaining.
“I want to go home!” he hits his chair with his feet. “I want to go home!”
I still hold my hand on the car keys.
“Well, listen it’s been great talking to you but I really need to go now. Of course, we’ll catch up some other day. Definitely! Sure, sure. I’ll check my agenda and we’ll fix a date. Hugs and take care!”
Just as I finish my sentence J and B start a fight. S’s crappy mood is always contagious.
“Stop it, now! All three of you!”
I turn myself to face them. I look right through them with dark menacing eyes.
I step out of the car. I go round it, on automatic pilot. I open their door on the side of the pavement and bark at them to get out of the car. One by one, preferably. No pushing and pulling.
“Don’t run!” I shout between my teeth. “One of these days…”
All three of them are aligned in front of the main door. B twists maliciously his arm and pushes the doorbell. J jumps to do the same. S forces the locked doorknob. They all whine and squeak annoyingly.
Once the door unlocked they rush inside the house. A hurricane of clothes and shoes discourages any stranger to approach.
I wipe my feet on the threshold.
Home. This is our home. It is not mine. It is ours.
My home is far from here.
My home is where all people around me speak my language.
In a block of flats, second staircase, second floor, in a tree-shadowed apartment with four rooms where it smells like cookies. Where Dolly, an old German shepherd balances her belly from left to right while lazily coming to check what is there for her on her plate.
My home is where the windows open on the forest. Where on winter nights one can see the radio station’s lights glittering on top of the mountain. Where in summer nights the Big Bear carries her chart on the ridge of the hills.
Home is where dad sits in his favorite armchair and plays with a toothpick until he drives me crazy.
Home is where mom summons us for dinner from the window while we, my brothers and I, scattered around the block, would negotiate two more minutes of freedom.
My home is where I learned to draw on the big freshly wallpapered walls with thick pens and pencils. I thought they were not colored enough. They deserved a nice rainbow. Home is where I first practiced skating on the black and red stripes of a nylon carpet in the hall, so delighted to see mom’s transfigured face at the view. I was three, she was concerned. I was sure she was mad about the carpet. She was worried about me, I was a little one, yet so brave.
Home is where my mom would ask dad if he wanted fries for dinner. He would say no and invariably pick some out of my plate. I so much hated him for that. Yet he was taking such a pleasure in teasing me.
My home is where I would rush out straight to my best friends’ door excited about something, now so unimportant. We would sit together, one on the toilet, the other one on the bathtub’s edge discussing existential matters. We were almost inseparable. We kept all of each others’ secrets. We suffered together, we loved together, we cursed together, we left boyfriends together, we moved on, separately.
My home is where I would fight with my brother and swear never to forgive him. It is where I was restlessly waiting for the older brother to come home from university to give me a hug until I choked and lift me up in the air. My savior! My mom would sneak a present for me in his pockets. I would be the happiest sister in the whole world.
My home is where mom and dad sip quietly an afternoon coffee on the balcony when they open a mysterious bag my brother brought them from his training. They saw a pair of big dark eyes of a small dog popping from the darkness. They almost jumped over. They immediately fell in love with our 6 weeks old Dolly.
My home is where I rebelled for the first time. I called my dad a monster. It cost me a hell of a slap. He regretted it. He would never admit it.
Home is where I would open the front windows wide in frozen winter nights and let the smell of fresh snow invade my room and then shiver for the rest of the day. Warming was a luxury back then.
Home is where my mom would send me to buy eggs, stay in line two times for two dozens only to break them all when they hit the ground…I skidded with my bike.
Home is where Santa Claus brought the Christmas tree one week in advance on the mythical terrace on the flat. I would contemplate it every day praying I behaved enough during the year so that it would not disappear over night as my brother was predicting it. Where Santa Claus himself would decorate it and then leave the presents underneath. He would always mark his presence with garlands of lights and one window ajar. Home is where we would wander in groups from friends’ to friends’ home celebrating the winter holidays or splash each other with perfume at Easter.
My home is where I would come back from granny’s house after having stolen a jar of black cherries in syrup in the middle of the autumn. She would make me the most delicious jam biscuits in the world.
My home is where I first found love, married it and left it altogether.
Where I studied nights in a row for my exams at university. Where I would scatter my papers all over the room leaving a narrow trail for mom to bring me coffee in and sandwiches and a slice of home made no-birthday-cake. So that I would have enough strength. Where dad would stop in front of the door at 3am and listen to me cursing the paragraphs and quotations form universal literature and poems of Ovidius.
My home is where I buried my dad in the shadow of an old oak tree, next to my grandma. MY Home is where my mom already prepared her after life resting place – so odd and so loving and caring…
Our home is far away from my home. On a different planet, where people learn to live without sun. Where they seem enjoy the darkness of insanely long nights.
Our home in a different country where our children speak a new native language. Where my language is an accent in their language.
Our home is where I married my soul mate. Where our kids are born. Where I keep one picture of my dad sitting in his favorite armchair. Mom stands next to him. She was young. She is a grandmother in our home.
Our home is where we come home tired in the evening, where the kids and I continuously fight about everything and nothing. Where their dad hugs them, snuggles them.
Where our dog barks incessantly while chasing the cat. Stupid dog, foxy cat. Where our spiderman fish comes out of its hiding place when it’s hungry.
Our home is where our kids go to bed smiling and cuddling in their beds. Safe and happy. They have mom and dad to watch over them.
Where they wake up early, painfully early in the morning, and start planning their adventurous day giggling.
“Mom, B said I am a baby! I am not a baby!
“Yes you are, baby! Baby!”
J is upset. He rushes to the dog, snatches her ears and carries her around the house.
“I am not a baby! I am strong! Look!”
I feel blood draining from my face. The next second S is hugging the cat with love… too much love.
The door opens.
“Daddy, daddy daddy, you’re home!”