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Aug 2015
There is nothing worse than choosing to break your own heart. Because you knew that if you chose to stay, your world would shrink until it crushes you apart. There are things you simply outgrow, like shirts and dresses that start exposing parts of you you’d rather keep to yourself. Memories that have fallen flat, you become two dimensional reruns of the past. Wells you have run dry, you need to leave and start digging for new founts. But don’t get me wrong, you can always stay.  But if you stay too long, you may become someone who has simply stayed behind.

Day 1
The door was left open I didn’t need the key to find my way in. I saw the desperation in the darkness, whimpering that I see the lines and edges obscured by shadows left by the one who lived there before me. I swipe my hand across the walls, patting recklessly for a switch that has to be there somewhere, only to find my hands covered in the filth that have settled there for too long, it claims all the walls as its own. But I was right to assume that all houses have lights to be turned on, the brightness of which at first will be unknown. So, I reach, and I flick the switch, and I see it half-glow- tired and overused yet eager to bid hello.

Day 4
The boxes come one by one and I am careful as to where they are laid. No, not there, in the puddle of murky water. Not there near the hole on the floor. Not there next to the pile of used…I don’t know what those are. Too *****, too filthy, too unpolished. Place it on those three spots that have been wiped down and cleaned, adorned by roses and fences, maintained by the past resident to gleam.

Day 11
I can’t sleep. This house is too foreign my body refuses to let the air sink into its pores.

Day 29
I wake up today refusing to believe that the rest of this house will be any better. I am carefully planning how to reach those three clean spots without my toes touching any of the grime. I tiptoe, like a hungry teenager during midnight, only to smack into the door frame. And I see lines. No, I didn’t have a concussion, there were really lines drawn on the side of the door frame: 1982, 1992, 1996, 2008, 2014. And for some reason, I lay back on the slender piece of wood and I draw a line right above my head as well, 2015: 158 cm.

Day 56
I stepped outside today to catch my breath, trying to find the same air that filled my lungs 7,463 km away.
I try looking for the same sun. The dimmed lights inside is starting to engulf my soul that I refuse to believe that my feet would not plunge into the darkened floors, I would not move anymore. I look across the street and I see my neighbors trimming their garden. I realize that not all things are simply given, not all things simply sprout, the filth will not blow itself out, nor will the light bulbs brighten itself. It stays as is because I simply let it be. In this life, you don’t always get to choose how everything starts, but you get to decide how it ends.

Day 180
Tonight, I’m sleeping over at a friend’s. The house is bigger and has more…food. It smells of cinnamon and peppermint or something foreign. But that just it, it’s…foreign. My body can’t seem to settle its bones on the proportions these chairs were carved out to have. I start missing new familiarities: that crack near my counter that I turned into a mail holder, that small stool that always trips me up on my way out but I never really moved, or that strong scent of aged wood which constantly reminds me where I’m at. It’s not exactly the best. But it has a warmth that tells me I will be missed if I ever decide to go anywhere else.

Day 240
I haven’t done the dishes for almost a week now nor have I done any form of “cleaning” that my mom would probably start questioning life when she sees the state of this house. I’m amazed by how it still holds itself together instead of choking me with the loam I made myself. Thank God houses aren’t people who hurt when they’ve been hurt because no one really likes crying alone. But sometimes alone is what we should be to remind ourselves that our two feet can still hold us up.

Day 320
They ask me what house I liked better. My heart was still left in the other.

Day 350
They asked me what house I like better. I’m not so sure.

Day 428
They asked what house I liked better, I still like the other. But it isn’t home anymore.

You see, home isn’t always where you’d like to invite people to stay, a place built by love and dreams, or where your heart is. Sometimes home is made by your screams of pain, it has become a dwelling place for your broken heart. Sometimes home is where you only stay for a while because it cannot contain your wandering heart. Sometimes home is there simply to tolerate and remind you that you can feel, that you may have left a piece of you with someone else but all pieces can be replaced. Sometimes home is where time is the fastest and no work is done, a place that takes you places just by sitting around.
Sometimes home is where you don’t want to be in because you want to know what else you can be out there.

Darling, in this world, there will always be better houses but better is not always what we need.
Abby Elbambo
Written by
Abby Elbambo  Qatar/Philippines
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