by Nalli, 10th
When I hear the word home
I think of the small things that I once took for granted thinking they would always be there.
I think of the yellow, orange, and green buildings I grew up in.
Yellow to let the demons out
Orange to haul them back in
Green to start over
The apartment buildings we would have never been able to let go of if it weren’t for the letter giving only six days to leave behind a lifetime.
I knew exactly which floor tiles creaked in the dead of night.
How to turn the knobs in the shower to get just the right temperature.
And the downstairs neighbor who dreamed about growing her own garden but was never able to.
I think of the way the leaves fell from the trees in the fall and flooded the streets like rain.
How when we first stepped foot in that neighborhood my brothers were still using training wheels.
The room with a giant closet I avoided at night just incase there was a ghost living in there.
The hall full of photos of my brothers and I and the Christmas tree mom took down and sold before it was even Christmas.
And how in the Autumn time I would leave my window open so I could listen to the giant trees swaying and creaking in the wind.
My dad walking me to my fifth grade class
Tracing the lines on the fences with my fingers as we walked side by side.
I was too embarrassed by sixth grade
And by seventh grade I walked alone every morning.
Waking up from an after school nap to a dark living room
The sunset peaking through the window
The sounds of my family getting ready for dinner.
Jumping in the creek even though we knew we shouldn’t
Building clubhouses in the field
Stealing the neighbors oranges and never really eating them.
Riding my bike in the driveway
Riding my skateboard in the driveway
Attempting to build a seesaw in the driveway.
Dancing with the thought of never leaving.
Playing soccer in the streets late into the night.
Sitting at the top of the stairs waiting for the sun to rise.
Watching as the neighborhood slowly came to life.
I think of a world that no longer exists.
And how there’s no feeling crueler than nostalgia.
Oakland | East Bay, CA