Finding Home

Finding Home

I am seated next to my sister when my phone buzzes with your message. I do not realise it, until my sister punches my left shoulder and says, “Did you hear what I just said? Why are you smiling?”

Then I realise I had involuntarily stopped listening to her, and was gazing at a faraway place, your message still open on my phone screen: I saw white butterflies today, and they reminded me of your beautiful face; a face like home.

Life has been light lately, even my mother seems to have taken notice of it. She barges into my bedroom and I no longer jump in fright. She calls my name and my voice in response is laden with softness. I see it in the way she looks at me when you call and I smile before moving far, far away. I see it in the way she smiles and says, “Your eyes are happy, nowadays. Who is it?” 

I want to tell them, my mother and sister, of the first day I woke up in your bed, in between white linen bedsheets, your left hand against my right cheek, your voice soft in my ears: I made you breakfast, Beautiful. I didn’t know what you’d want, so I kinda made a little bit of everything.

Sausages. Toast bread. Weetabix. Scrambled eggs. Pancakes. Drop scones.

I want to tell them, my mother and sister, that that was the first time, in years, I had woken up without a longing in my heart, a ringing in my ears, a banging in my chest. That I let you take my hand, dressed in your black oversized t-shirt, and lead me to the bathroom, where you watched as I brushed my teeth, all the time saying, or asking, “You look so delicate. Do you want me to do that for you?” And before I knew it, you had let my hair down, and was gently brushing it, saying, or asking, “Do you feel alright? Would you like me to do anything for you? ANYTHING?”

I want to tell them, my mother and sister, that the feel of your fingers against my scalp was heavenly, as if you were carrying me to a land where there is nothing but calmness and just us two. So I turned around and asked, “You say you can do anything for me?” And when you nodded your ‘yes’, I stepped out of your baggy t-shirt, filled the bathtub, passed the loofah to you, and neither my mouth nor my eyes needed to say anything else.

If I am ever asked to describe that moment in one word, then it would be ‘gentle’. I remember, with eyes closed, wondering whether that is how it felt to finally find home. To exist without ceasing. To open your heart to all there is to be felt, and only coming back home with nothing but happiness and contentment. To have another person look at you, at your vulnerability, and see nothing but opulence and sanctity. To have your heart, mind, and soul in sync with each other, so that your feet move as if you are floating in air, your heart beats as if it is dancing to the rhythm of your music. To breathe without worrying that it might be your last, because your heart is on the verge of letting go.

Gentle. Like leaves falling on green grass early in the morning.

I want to tell them, my mother and sister, about how after that bath, I sat in the crook of your arm, biting on the toast bread and sipping milk, wondering, aloud, why it took this long for me to find my way home. How you kissed the top of my head and spoke as if you were waiting for this moment all your life: That sometimes, home is not a destination, but a journey. Home is not in one person, and sometimes, you have to go through different people, pitching temporary tents, picking lessons on how to build a better home, and moving forward with your search. That sometimes you stumble upon your home even when you were not searching. Or when you had long given up on the hope of ever finding home. That there is no perfect home; just unique things in a home. That homes come and go, but the memories you create in those homes are the most important part of the journey.

You kiss the top of my head again, and I want to lose myself in this home that is you. In this softness that is your body. In this gentleness that is your spirit. In this bubble I am tempted to call love. In this  place where it is just us two, and nothing seems to be capable of disrupting this balance we have created.

I am tempted to tell them, my mother and sister, that this might be the longest I have ever been happy, and I am not worried, not paranoid that this, whatever we have, might come to an end. That I can finally set my foot down without worrying that the ground will shift, or the sand will sink. That finally, I think, I have found a home in which I am certain I want to dwell forever.

I open my mouth to begin saying something to my sister, maybe to finally tell her about you, but my phone starts ringing, your name splashed across the screen, a love emoji at the end of it, and I know, deep down, I am never going to tell them about this thing between us. I want to bask in this glory, alone, for as long as I can. I want to selfishly hoard this home of happiness for as long as I can, letting my flowers bloom in the warmth, allowing my skin to glow in the glory of this gentleness.

An hour later, after you hang up the call, my mother sneaks behind me and asks, “Is he the one?”

I shake my head in a firm ‘No’, but my eyes betray me, so that my mother squeezes my hand and says, “Finally.”

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Meet Eunniah Mbabazi
Eunniah Mbabazi is an Electrical and Electronic Engineer with a deep passion for books and literature. She has authored Breaking Down (a collection of short stories), If My Bones Could Speak (a poetry collection), The Unbirthed Souls (a collection of short stories), and My Heart Sings, Sometimes (a poetry collection). She has also co-authored Kas Kazi (a novel) and When a Stranger Called (an anthology of short stories).

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