Writer: Shahi Ezzeldin
Editor: Ahmed Ashry
Rain droplets pitter-pattered on the roof top of the two story house I live in. Droplets fell inside the living room, the bucket supposed to hold the water from soaking the house was now full. The water was beginning to overflow. In times like this, dad would grab the bucket and pour it into the botus pot.
But this time, he didn’t; the water flowed and soaked the moquette.
I raised my legs on the couch and hugged my knees. I could have gotten up and tried to save the floor before it’s all ruined, but my fever was too strong that I couldn’t even get up. In moments like these, mom would make me a hot ginger lemonade, sweetened by a spoonful of honey because she knows I like my drinks a little sweet.
I swallowed my spittle, but it did not clear my throat like that drink would do.
The fire place was scorching flames like a dragon, but its heat didn’t comfort my cold body like the blanket dad used to cover me with the nights I fell asleep on the armchair while writing an exhausting, emotional piece.
It was quiet in here; it had been quite for a while, and I had been longing for this silence and clearance of mind so that I could write properly without my siblings distracting me with their noisy chatters. But ever since they left, I had been in a writing block that was halting my intellection.
The storm was ending, but my brainstorm didn’t seem to be wearing off anytime soon. I couldn’t even name a topic out of the thousands I wanted to write about. I tended to build whole pieces out of single words, but the inspiration bolt hadn’t struck me yet.
“Think. Think. Think.”
I’m just gonna play scrabble until I find a suitable word; I’m sure all the others will come along, but only when I find that exact word.
“Home”, I read out loud.
The way the word rolled off my tongue, the “O” shape my lips made, them touching briefly afterwards and my dimples popping to make the word sound complete, it was the one.
I love writing research based topics, even if it’s just poetry. I read about what I write beforehand so I can experience and visualize what I am about to intensely describe.
The place where one lives permanently, especially as a member of a family or a household.
So that’s what it was? A bloody accommodation? What about the quotes Pinterest fed me daily with?
“Home is where the heart is.’’
But if your heart is shattered into a million pieces and fragments that your fragile muscle drops every time you’re hurt by a word or a person, will you be homeless with an empty chest then?
“Home is a person not a place.”
Though they fled with their families and tribes, why do refugees who depart to other countries daydream about their original residences? Why do they long for a piece of land which they no longer live in?
I did trust Google and Wikipedia with any piece of information they supplied me with, especially the basic lingual definitions.
But not this time, no. So here’s how I would define home.
Not four walls and a backyard, nor some nurturing company, but rather a feeling, and if I were to choose only ONE word to describe that feeling, in a heartbeat, I’d pick warmth.
The warmth of the memories you once made and will be forever reminiscing about whenever you stare into the blank.
The warmth of the laughter you once shared with a loved one in those couple of squared meters.
The warmth of the salty, hot tears that fell on your cheeks when you stumbled upon a letter on your Porsche that held dreadful news within the ink.
It’s the warmth that is not bound by any restrictions time and space could ever surround.
It’s the warmth radiated by the euphoria, the nostalgia, the scenes you recall, the feeling of being brought back an exact time. Feeling every single detail that particular event held. Hell, even the same breath.
It’s the beauty of the spur moments the past held that now are mobile to just paralyze you completely and overwhelm you by the presence of those memories right before your eyes.
I thought I had a fever, but I just now figured that my perception was completely mistaken.
I’m homesick. And I’m home.
I wasn’t homesick when I was 3,000 miles away with an ocean parting between me and my household, but one continent away from here, I felt warmth, as well as love.
Home is where you feel warmth.
It’s when you feel love.
And it’s who brings them to you that you can call home.
I heard the creak of the door opening and I turned to see my dad’s face appearing from behind it, my eight year-old brothers were rushing inside, both taking off their raincoats while running and throwing them carelessly as they entered their rooms.
“The first to change into his PJ’s gets a Kinder bar,’’ mum cried. I felt the warmth seeping into our house when they came in; it was as if we weren’t in November and it wasn’t raining anymore. Color entered my body and my cheeks were lively rose again.
My home came back home.