It would come in waves, the homesickness. It settled in her chest, building like a swelling tide, till it became a bird beating its wings against the bars of its cage. Then came the sickening drop, like a leaden ball thudding into her stomach. Usually it was too late to stop it by that point, so she’d give in and let herself cry. It was one of the only things that could make her cry any more, so it was honestly a bit of a relief to feel something so strongly. It was a reminder that she was still alive.
The modern miracle known as Google Street View was the worst. It allowed her to pick out the familiar rocks and the peeling paint around the windows, the tree branches, the stones in the front path, the wrought iron mailbox on the porch. It wasn’t just the house, either; it was the whole city, filled with little fragments of her life that had been left behind.
She worried that she would never move on. No matter what came along, how good life could potentially be elsewhere, she was afraid it would never be home. She already had a home; she just didn’t live there. It seemed childish at times, ridiculous and immature. Move on. Normal people move on. The only parallels she could draw in her mind were embarrassing to admit to others. Like the death of someone dear. Like the proverbial first love, “the one that got away”. Was there something wrong with her for clinging to a place as strongly as others clung to people? But oh, it wasn’t just a place. No, it would never be “just a place”. It was the home she chose for herself, where despite the bad times – and there were many of them – she learnt how to live a little as well, out of the shadow of her family and her own past.
She’d planted seeds there, and it pained her to know she wasn’t able to tend to them and watch them grow.