I have four homes; constantly in migration and always lost in translation between. Each pulls from me a different colour, each equal, each silk, each frayed and lost and rebuilt, regrowing.

My post falls through the same door I walked home to as a child, the same door I could see if I got high enough on the swings or climbed the left-most tree in the furthest row that was accidently arranged into a pathway. It’s there, still there, feels like it will always be there, for 3pm coffee and 5:30pm dinner and various shades of warmth; brown, burgundy, and brick. It is the home I feel most connected to when I’m not there, remembered fondly as a place to return to. A place I mourned, itself, two family members and three lost loves, toys and years; slipping further as I grew too tall for the hands that could only stretch to that tree, and can’t stretch further, strain as I go unattended. It is a place that mourns me, each time I leave in a packed car and my parents return in a quiet one, but more so when I return with them smaller and crumpled from my time away. It is a place to which I owe an apology, for painting all red walls grey, taking all the colour away. For the cracks created by my rage, and the secrets I have forced my bedroom walls to keep within their layers. For the insult I throw by wanting to leave early, eager to run back to slow burning shacks, empty warehouses I was trying to call houses for homes. I whisper my sorrys to the walls and door frames I blamed for so long as I return now, rush back for relief like the little girl in uniform at the end of the day. Home is a constant game of coming and going, fleeing and retreating, blaming and blaming until I released a building can’t be the problem.

And then there is here, two rooms in two years, shelters given to me while I figure out how to build my own. New corridors to learn their creaks, green walls and friends on the floor, blood to clean up, fear and hugs; the kind of home you create out of being forced to know each other too well. Some kind of a diamond from the pressure of being each other’s only, and the inability to hide secrets between joining walls and a shared shelf in a cupboard.

The kind of home you build within a question mark, built within him that night he coaxed me out of hiding, build within me when I found him like that, maintained in shit beer, our arguments, our arguments with others, tension, and doors. We left items in each when we moved out, into new buildings and the new task of learning to call them home without music in the space in between.

And I, I am a home I’m only just learning how to inhabit, learning how to want to come back to it, and how to want to stay.

And learning, also, to be okay with having a home, small and soft, embedding within the one I love, within the folded pile of things I left comfortably in my cupboard in his house, within my photo, my drawing, my words stuck on his wall. Homes in the hands of others have previously been crushed, never given my own space but shrunk to fit into a drawer if I should need to be tidied away temporarily, never given a space in a place I had a key to, a home fucked off and locked behind me. But I will settle again when I feel at home, and leave my jumper at his house, build a home within my love. I have no key, we had no conversation to formalise it, but sometimes a home is a culmination of time and presence, happy presence wanted and welcomed to interrupt a place. Accidental, to host your love and grow your plants. I am learning it okay to move in and out as love changes, leaves and returns to you anew. So for now, I have a home here, in him, in a shared bed and the simple feeling of belonging in the shared task of making it.

Maybe I was born to be pulled, certain to be separated and settle partly in each and more, left lingering like items misplaced in a move. Lucky to find places and people in which to settle, lucky to look back at the home I’ve left and to have homes looking forward to seeing me again. All four soft, silk, pulled and pulling me too till I fear they might fray. Trains and cars, hugs hello and kisses goodbye, all four in knots, bandages, tracing skin, I’ll see you soon, if you cry, I’ll cry.


Lucy Harbron