Homes

Molly Byrne

I think he’s worried that if he gives me the keys I will walk right into his heart and immediately start redecorating. He has things set up the way he likes and he doesn’t want his posters torn down for wall decals of birds and quotes about love. He knows (it’s happened before) that most people can’t help but to want to change things. No matter how much they like the way it looks, they start to think “what if?” They have their own ideas about decor. They want to bring in their night tables and their paper lanterns. They want to make your heart theirs.

 

And when they leave (which they inevitably do, we are all some sort of nomad), they take some parts and leave others and you are left with a half-full, cluttered heart. You have to make the long and painful decisions about what parts of you belong there, try to remember what parts were there before she came. What parts of you she built, what parts are worth keeping.

 

What he doesn’t understand about me is that I am not in the habit of making homes. I don’t like too much to stay. A blanket and books are all I need. So he can keep his posters, and hang whatever lights he wants. If I admire the decor it's only because I can see the way it lights up his eyes.

 

So I keep knocking, I keep peeking in the windows. And he keeps stalling, putting things in their right place, worried that if he lets me in I’ll start knocking things down.  And I can’t claim to not be a master of messes. I can’t claim I won't throw my laundry on the floor, and forget to scrub the toilet, and get sugar in the crevices of all the kitchen appliances for some late night cupcakes.

 

But I am not the type to move furniture. And when I’m gone it will be all yours again, every quiet corner. Maybe just a fingerful of sugar lingering behind a clean coffee mug will remind you that I was ever there at all.

Molly Byrne is a writer and scientist. She lives in Boston with her dog Milo. She spends most of her time writing but the rest of the time trying to be outside.

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