It’s often been said, “Home is where the heart is.” I’ve never bothered looking up the origin of that idiom and surprisingly I’ve also never thought really hard on the subject until only recently. A couple weeks ago, I decided to take a walk around 12am. I walked by the only house I’ve ever really felt at home in. It’s the house I lived in when I started high school, met my best friends, met my first girlfriend, etc. I noticed a light was on, but I wasn’t about to be a creep and look inside. A different person lived there now. That building that contained so many of the best times of my life was now occupied by someone else making their own memories and it is very likely that I will never see the inside again except in old photographs. It’s the house me, my mother, and my step-father lived in before I left for college in Florida in 2008. I was gone in Florida for about thirteen months and in that time my parents moved, I lost most of my friends, began dating somebody new, and my step-father died. When I came back home, home just was not home anymore. Nothing was the same. No one was the same. I wasn’t even the same. Where was my home then?I’ve lived in four apartments since moving from the only house I called home. Where is my home?
As I ventured on into the frosty, wintery night I walked down roads old friends lived on and wondered where they were, what they were doing, and if these houses were still their homes. Were they feeling as “homeless” as I was?
I finally reached what felt like a destination, it was the old house of my best friend. Since he’d joined the NAVY, his family moved to a new house in another town. Even this house wasn’t a home anymore. I sat on the stone steps leading up to his old house and remembered all the good times we had there and thinking about it made me feel like I was home again. I began walking back to my house thinking about what I had just felt, at home, despite not being home. I thought about the times with friends who were no longer friends with the same nostalgia and felt home again. If it wasn’t for a skunk that I somehow mistook for a plastic bag startling me I probably would have realized it sooner, “Home is where the heart is.” My heart is with the things I love, the people I love, and the memories I love. Home can be anywhere. Home is simply a feeling manifested by love and safety and comfort.The picture with this article is from December 29, 2006, taken using a cell-phone camera I owned at the time. It’s a picture I took of the sky above Osbornedale State Park in my hometown of Derby, Connecticut. I remember that on that day, I felt like I was home.