First there’s the drive. The same long stretch of road that took you to high school and back every day for four year. The same traffic; the same lights; the same store fronts. The same CD in the car stereo.
Then you get to the neighborhood. That sweep of road that curls through those old houses. The leaves part like the Red Sea so your car can cross through. For a moment, you remember what it was like to be fifteen, and someone else was driving you.
Then you get to the driveway. You see your house–now it’s more your parents’ house than it is yours anymore, and you realize that it always was. But it’s perfect, like a house in a snow globe, unchanged, if in need of love in a few corners.
The inside is different. Your room is different. It’s emptier. You still have toys sitting around, but there are familiar pictures on the walls you hung there when you were fourteen on the walls you painted–either yourself or with someone else. Now it’s almost as bare as it was when you first arrived, but so full of memories it will never be empty.
This is home, and always will be. To walk through the door is to shed eight years of my life and be small and new at things again, to forget what it means to be tired and to forget all the things that hurt and only remember the things that made you smile.
I don’t care what they say. I can always go home.