When you grow up, all you ever do is leave. You leave people, situations, and places. You often wonder where home is because you always feel like a fish out of water wherever you go. You make a home for yourself in the city. You decorate it with plants, posters of a treasured rock band, and furniture that you got from the flea market. Sometimes, it gets awfully quiet; other times, it's filled with the voices of your new favourite people. When it gets too silent, you call your Mother 1200 miles away and ask her about her day. You like to listen to her sometimes, but when she asks about yours, you gabble and say you're okay and then bid goodbye. You don't want to trouble her with your issues. It never completely feels like home because you are always missing something—your school friends, the old town roads, your Grandma's pickles, your cousins, evening drives, the smell of your room, and your family.
And when you return to your hometown, you miss the comfort of living in your own place, Sunday brunches, your new friends, going on random trips, meeting strangers, and the view from your balcony. The silence that used to bother you in your new home is something that you crave when you return. You realise that this will never be over, the way that you are feeling. Maybe, you will get used to it when you get older. But right now, you are in your 20s, and life is already hard. And no matter how much you want to feel at home, you often end up missing things you're far away from.
You think that maybe the romantics are right. Maybe, you will find home in some other person, a better half. But the truth is that you will find a piece of you in every place you have ever been, in every person you have ever loved. You paint your nails the way that senior in your school did when you were 12 years old. And there's an album in the corner of your room that your first kiss suggested for you to listen to, and that's how you discovered your favourite rock band. You find your habits lingering in the way your brother arranges his books—separating hardcovers from paperbacks and organising them by colour. Nobody does that, you think.
You realise that blueberry yogurt on toast and little flowers of butter and orange jam isn't your recipe; it's the way your Mother used to make toast for you when you were five. You notice that your best friend still plays your road trip playlist when she drives, and you cook chicken the same way your roommate in college taught you. You share your habit of clicking pictures of flowers by the roads with your Dad, and like your ex, you always check traffic on maps before leaving. Even if you don't talk to them anymore, you will always have tenderness in your heart for people. You will realise that so much of them is you, and so much of you is them.
You realise that's why you can never feel completely at home because a part of your heart is always wandering in some other memory, in a different place that you used to call home. Your love spreads endlessly, and you realise that this is what happens when you have the joy of experiencing so many different kinds of loves and friendships. As you mature, you learn that departing isn't merely about leaving; instead, it's about carrying a piece of others with you and leaving a part of yourself behind. It transforms you into a magnificent collage, a gem woven from the threads of all those you've loved, of all those you are ever going to love.
And someday, that feeling will be home enough.