Home is Where the Heart is
Home Is Where The Heart Is
Time seemed to move in slow motion. I was viewing my life from some other's point of view. I was watching a car crash, and sitting in the front seat all at once. Boxes piled high around me, ominous in their finality. Random objects were strewn about the floor, leaving only the small circle of space where I had been seated. I arose from my bedroom floor, shaken, and stared out the window with glazed, unblinking eyes. A pink sky and gorgeous setting sun met my sight. White, fluffy clouds dotted the sky and I dreamed of being a part of them. If only to live just to drift along, without a care in the world. I was there, amid the unsettling despair that hung in the atmosphere, lost in my own mind. But my thoughts weren't really there. Tears began to slide down my cheeks and I knew they weren't spilling simply because of my overwhelming depression and grief. It was the physical expression of my heart shattering and a part of my soul slowly dying.
It was not so long ago that my parents had delivered my fate. After several painful and edgy months of "maybe" my parents' mouths had finally closed around those fateful, damning words: we're moving. They declared this statement in such a nonchalant fashion that I angrily wondered if they had any concept, any idea at all, of the depth and severity of this tiding. Even now, they danced evasively around the nonexistent shred of hope that we could stay. I read into every pathetically cheering word and every feigned emotion they displayed. A slowly gathering sadness mingled with hot indignation in the pit of my stomach. They tried so hard to make it sound fun and exciting, like it was some kind of blessing to find a new house and start over again. No, I knew better. They could fool my sister, but I would not stand to accept such an obvious circumvention. I knew that this had been looming in the distance, but how could I even fathom that with just my senior year of high school left, I would have to move?
The cold, hard truth of the matter was that financial trouble had befallen us. A few years prior, my father had decoded to follow his passion into the music industry. But it wasn't always that way. Our first business, a consulting business, was on an entirely different track. It had made us a fairly wealthy family, and we had lived in a beautiful, spacious three-story house with an entire acre of backyard filled with trees, near the heart of the city and with a breathtaking view of a winding creek. Things appeared as though they would stay that way at least until I went off to college. Then, as abruptly as it had all began, it ended. The economy took a steep dive and the new business wasn't picking up. Normal, every day things were becoming difficult to afford. We even had to budget our food expenses, so as to somehow save ourselves from helplessly drowning in our debt. But now, all of it was gone, ripped away in an instant. One second, I had been basking in the sunshine by the splendorous bay window in my living room. And the next, I was stuck on the couch in a cramped, two-story sham of a house that my parents could afford only to rent.
My parents refused to tell anyone the real reason why we had to leave, purely out of their own selfish embarrassment. But I saw no shame in it and I was infuriated that they would try to hide it. I could see the disgrace momentarily flash in their eyes when anyone asked that fatal question: why? My father would shuffle his feet and wring his hands together, frantically looking around for my mother to answer. She would avert her gaze and rattle off her famous elusive response. "Well, we're just in between houses. We wanted a change." I wanted to scream at her, cry out for her to tell the truth. I don't know why it meant so much to them to deceive everyone. Only their two closest friends knew, and even what my parents told them was only a vague inkling of reality. Wanted, I thought. Who ever wished for this? Who in their right mind would offer up the one thing that was a constant comfort, a safe zone, freely?
There is something that needs to be understood. I am not some poor little rich girl merely worried about living in a small house. It was that house. It was never simply a house to me, a dwelling where one resides, a place to go after the day's events. No. It was my home. The home where I had grown up. The home I spent all but two years of my life living within. The home where my memories were embedded into every last corner. How could the next family ever understand what this place had meant to me? My life was there, my childhood, everything. I lost whatever ounce of sweet juvenile naivete I had left that day. The day my world was pulled out from under me, I grew up.
"Rachel, are you okay?" My mother whispered as she walked up behind me. "This your last box?"
"Yeah," I replied, listening to the echoes of my voice from the bare walls. Nothing but emptiness remained. "I just want to stay here for a minute..." I trailed off. I had no need to explain; she knew what I meant.
"All right. We'll be outside waiting with the truck." She put a comforting hand on my shoulder but I wouldn't even turn to look at her. Rage and sorrow welled up inside of me, threatening to burst forth from my chest. I clenched my fists together and forced my eyes shut, for fear of never ending tears. Realizing at last that I wasn't going to say any more, she left and walked out my door for the last time.
I glanced around my room, devoid of every scrap of furniture, picture and poster. I laid down on the floor where my bed once was and raised my eyes to the ceiling as I had spent so many sleepless nights. Everything was gone, and I questioned if anyone else in my family had felt sunken as deeply so. My memories flooded to me as I finally decided it was time to leave forever. I leaned down to lift up my last box of things. And with one last tear shed, I turned and walked away from my home. My life. My heart.