Home used to be a red brick, Tudor style house, on a Dallas property enclosed with large oak trees, Japanese maples, numerous shrubs, and the largest persimmon tree my Grandpa and Dad constantly told us they had ever seen. Home was loud: kids screaming, dogs barking, video games blasting, Beatles music often coming from different ends of the house at once. “DINNER”, Miss Avis (our nanny) would yell, as kids of all ages raced from the swimming pool, the trampoline, or the library to be first in line for fried chicken and macaroni. The door never got locked and nobody ever rang the doorbell unless they were trying to sell something or delivering pizza. There you could find an endless supply of food, loving company, a spot on the couch, and an extra sweatshirt if you got cold. Everybody was welcome and everybody felt at home at 6325 Preston Parkway.   

This home no longer exists. Following my parents’ divorce and my departure for University, the home sold to a family who had other ideas for my childhood oasis. They tore down my charming house to make room for a white cement mansion. They ripped apart the basketball court to build their indoor game room. They demolished the garden to build their three-bedroom guesthouse. They uprooted every large tree except for two so they could build a monster house for a three-person family. The once red, brown, lush and welcoming to all property now appears white, cold, barren, and rejecting. 

Since I graduated high school, I haven’t been back to Dallas for more than two weeks at a time. I move apartments at school every ten months. I’ve worked in different cities each summer. Life has become an endless cycle of packing and un-packing. I have two constant beds, one at my Mom’s and one at my Dad’s, but these places feel temporary and can’t compare to the comfort of the white carpeted, purple silk sheeted, and pink striped bedroom of my childhood. 

Losing the epitome of home made me realize that I don’t need a physical place to feel at home. Even if my home were still standing, my family wouldn’t live there together. It wasn’t home because of the place but because of the warmth that radiated from being surrounded by so many people I loved. I find this whenever with my family and friends I consider apart of it, now. Home isn’t a big house where my whole family lives but is a feeling I get simply from being in a presence of love where I’m comfortable to be completely myself. My mind gets calmer, my loved ones are footsteps away, I get so relaxed that I could cry out every stress of the past: I am home.