What They Don't Tell You

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What they don't tell you about the first time you come home

 

You'll come home expecting your world to be like a forgotten dollhouse

That things will be standing exactly where you left them

Only they'll have collected a layer of time and dust.

When really, people have grown and places have shrunk

You will suddenly look at everything through a microscope

Wondering and wanting to know how every boulder that played a role in your life

now seems like a grain of sand stuck in the bottom of your boot

 

You'll learn that growing up isn't exactly the carpeted staircase you thought it would be

That it's more like a path of stepping stones through a mud puddle

A balancing act of remembering, restoring, and running forward

That somedays your soul will ache for people and places and past validations

It will feel like chunks of your heart have fallen through the cracks of your ribcage,

Crumbling like plaster

Try not to think of it like you are missing pieces,

but that you now just have a lighter heart and more room to breathe

 

You'll start to wonder how you ever went to bed before midnight

Or functioned without coffee

Or woke up before 8

Your entire concepts of early and late and being free will have changed entirely

You always expected freedom to be painted on the wings of birds flying down familiar roads

and off into the great unknown

Now, freedom is what binds you to coffee dates with your papers and laptop

The responsibility of getting yourself to bed at a reasonable hour and getting up at one too

Operating on your own clock, the minute hand running far too quickly

As hours catch up with sunsets, and days bump into one another,

politely asking if they could just borrow a couple more minutes of sleep and solitude

 

They never tell you that home slowly transforms from a building into a feeling

That your feet are more trained to walk back into the lives of others

than to walk back into old rooms and closets

You'll seek solace in voices and eyelashes and outstretched arms

That even though everything's changing

at least the change will always be constant

That the way your sisters smile and the way your mother laughs and the way your papa hugs you

will always be home

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