This morning I figured out part of the creepiness I was experiencing in my aunt’s house. My aunt keeps her house extremely neat and tidy. There was not a single smudge to be found or cobweb to be spotted. Despite this cleanliness, there is a sense that something is off. The towels and linens are stiff, the sheets have a noticeable scratchiness, and the air had the faint odor of stuffiness as though the house itself has been put on a shelf, not really used or lived in. Because of these things, I finally realized why I was feeling creeped out: the house itself is just that – a house. Not a home.
My aunt has made a new home with her boyfriend who makes her very happy. When they return from Florida she is thinking about selling, and she should sell her house to allow another to turn it into a home.
All this talk about homes has made me grateful for my own. It’s not the actual, physical structure of a house that makes a home; rather, it’s the personal value, the bonds the inhabitants have with one another and with others who come to visit. For me, my home is talking to my mom every night and sincerely telling her “Thank you for everything.” It’s my dad being off on the weekends and watching TV for hours. My sister texting me every day, even if it’s just to ask if I could pick up some things for her at the grocery store. Living in a space that could be termed purposely messy, the purposely part being that there is not enough physical space to neatly fit all of our stuff. Home is not where the heart is. The heart is what home is.