I am unfortunately sentimental

I hate it when
we walk by houses/apartments/compounds
and you
so nonchalant
say “oh I used to live there
my life used to be contained within those four walls
but I am a free bird, a global citizen, I go where the wind takes me,
I go with the flow,”
how can you be such a slut for accommodation?
ignoring the nurturing of
a home filled with memories

because I can still remember
I can trace every brick
on the way from home to there
and back
always back
no matter how far I went
or whether I did the rings with suitcases
voyaged far and wide
only to return mid-August
to the familiar heat
and warmth of home

home is not debatable
or exchangeable
gutted and tossed aside
moving onto the next rental

if I close my eyes
I see my childhood
I see the shadows of curtains on my face as the sun sets
or walk into the kitchen with the door closed and see my dad
a big man
making eggs in a tiny pan
or take my comforter outside onto the
periwinkle bench we painted ourselves
in my little haven
under the canopy of birds and trees
and geckos sometimes
and spend the day reading
eventually braving the dustiest corner
(dusty because of the history of our living)
I watch hobgoblins and frankensteins scurry out from under
the tall lamp I smally wrestle
to enlighten my book and my mind
in the dark outside
until, weary-eyed,
I return to bed
relying on instinct and memory to guide me
to MY bed
in MY house
my home
that is not yours
even if you live there
at the moment

even if it has slipped through my fingers
a home I cannot attempt to replicate

yet, a compromise…
home exists in the heart and mind
it’s in family, in soul and in person
and I can always find a nook to read in
somewhere cold to have tea
a ring to do laps
Mama to listen
Bois to listen to
and Dad in his sofa.

I hate you,
who stoically accept the unfairness of the world
I hate you,
who understand that it is not uncommon
for childhood homes
to be left behind
and I hate you,
who can go back, year after year,
to see the markings on the wall
of your 2006
vs 2008 height


Artwork by Charlotte Edey “Chapel”

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