Home is where the porch door warps on a hot day and refuses to close. It's where the TV plays to ghost audiences once the living have left the room, while the cat sharpens claws on the carpeted stairs. The bottom step has felt the wrath like no other.
Here, the walls were once my canvas and diary. Beneath the scores of wallpaper lies a hidden wealth of drawings and childish ramblings; forgotten secrets only unearthed by some far away future tenant. Somewhere in the box room, the wall was kissed with pink-painted lips to see the effect of my mother's stolen lipstick. In the kitchen by the door, two sets of heights compete in efficient pencil scrawl. Eventually, mine won.
Home is where the cups and plates never match and the best china is only used on Christmas Day, much like the dining table. The rooms are always littered with forgotten activities; cups linger beside a cold kettle, the ironing board is only there to hold laundry and stub toes, and the vacuum cleaner remains at the end of the living room, plugged in waiting. It often waits for a long time.
Here, we keep useless things; rusty keys, books with lost pages and ceramic figurines with missing heads and feet, just in case. There is not just one messy drawer in this dust glazed place. They all are. The yellow papery entrails of encyclopaedia's, history books and the archive of Reader's Digest dating from 1972, spill out from bowed shelves on bookcases. And there's more upstairs.
Home is where I can trace the length and curves of the garden path with eyes closed and still feel it necessary to repeat the hundreds of cartwheels I did as a child. It's where the swing seat is always the hub for chats over cups of tea or glasses of wine as the sun sets and the breeze rises. Whilst mum bemoans the state of the neighbour's fence, we sit underneath the umbrella at the garden table enjoying barbecued meats, despite the rain trickling down our uncovered backs.
Here, hugs are offered without question and a shoulder sought is given freely. Laughter is first on the agenda and there is always music, whether filtering through the garage wall or tinkering down the stairs. There must always be music.
Home is where I feel free even with the doors locked and the windows closed. It's the one place where you only ever know its scent once you leave and just the reminder of it makes you long for its comfort with a smile.