What I miss about home is everything I thought I wouldn't. Even though I was lonely at home, now I miss the feeling of being alone. There is nowhere I can go anymore where I can just go and sit, or just go and cry, without having the fear that someone will walk in on me. I used to go to bed at night and be completely encapsulated: under covers, behind a locked door. Nothing could bother me there; all the day's troubles stopped uncertainly at the threshold and turned shamefully away. That security, that safety, that absolute peace, is never found away from home.
What I miss about home is the security of my family, the security of having them there for every day and everyday trials. I miss my mother's home office, the one I'd come to in tears or in joy. I miss sitting on the guest bed and recounting my day, distracting her from her work just to get a few laughs. When I'm sad I think of those light gray walls, the picture of swans on the wall that I always thought was a painting. I think of the sound my mother's desk chair makes when she leans back in it. I think of the photos she hung of my brother and me at our old house, and of how the past gave me comfort when the present wasn't going right.
What I miss about home is that here I don't have my mother's office to run to after class or to seek when I'm on the brink of tears. She can listen to my voice on the phone but can no longer see my face; she can no longer tell what pains or what joys me. I can tell her everything is okay, but if she can't see the expression behind my eyes, she'll never know whether it is.
What I miss about home are the nights. Falling asleep with the dog on the couch while my mother plays HGTV too loud on the TV. My father smoking a cigar outside under a smoky sky, my brother giving me a hard time for not putting the football game on. I miss heating up the orange tea kettle and pouring peppermint tea—lemon for my mother, raspberry for my brother—and watching my dad scoop himself a cup of vanilla ice cream. I miss the comfort of laughter, of voices from afar, of never wanting to go upstairs and wake up to the reality of day.
What I miss about home is the open road, the colors of the sunset reflecting brightly in my rearview mirrors. I miss the sound of Billy Joel crackling through my blown-out speakers, the feeling of the wind whipping across my face in the summer. I miss the feeling of flying, of running away at 60 miles per hour. I miss friends in the car, laughing and singing too loud, driving a little too recklessly at twelve in the morning. I miss the escape of my Highlander, of being able to cry or scream or smile without anyone hearing me. No one can guess what my life is all about because I am already moving past them. I miss moving alone, away from the people I always bump into on the subway.
What I miss about home is my guitar, singing in the shower when no one is home. I miss being able to write late at night in my bed, dreaming about everything that waited for me beyond my walls, beyond the sidewalks of my small town, never dreaming that I would dream of returning to that slow, liminal, angsty state we call growing up. I miss Saturday mornings, talking to my parents over coffee and pancakes about college or vacations, anything that wasn't the present. I miss that feeling of creativity that comes from discussing the future, especially now that I am living that future.
What I miss about home is the yearning for everything I have now, the romanticization of the life I am living. I miss the solitude and silence I once scorned, but it's nice to have that to go back to. It's nice that I miss a place I used to hate; nice that the place I was once trying to escape is now my escape.