I’m not ready to go back. With a full house, I still feel the empty chair, the empty presence. I grew up in this house. It’s been renovated, the old appliances held on by a thread for years have finally been replaced, but the house remains mostly the same, both in terms of structure and in feeling. When I come home, and after 5 years living in Pittsburgh I do still consider it home, time hasn’t passed. I remember the dress up box, I remember plays and board games with my cousins, I remember holidays and candlelit dinners watching the fireplace. I remember laughing while trying to find a common key to sing in with the rest of the family, and it makes me sad now. It makes me sad because I thought there would be more, I wasn’t ready for things to change. I was home for a week and a half and the big house felt strange. Still familiar - I could tell you where to put the dishes away without looking at the kitchen; but I felt disoriented, as if I were constantly looking for something that I couldn’t quite place. I was missing a hearty laugh, a corny joke, an “I wasn’t sleeping, just resting my eyes.” I’m just not ready to go back.
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