Lessons on Squatting: A House Is Not A Home

I was ok. I had grown stronger. My skin was clear. My eyes a bright, deep mahogany. My skin still had it’s summer coat, deep and texture like almond butter spread across lightly toasted bread. I was sweet, ripe, ready. I was in a new place. I was whole, full. Then I met him.

He was different, sweet, energetic and ambitiously accomplished. In his laugh, his smile, words and daily affections, I discovered home. Home–that place I’d long desired but never knew how to articulate–had been hiding in the soul of a manchild untouched! How did he have my residence? Did he steal it? Was it always with/in him? Was this a divine deed or had he exercised some form of adverse possession, dressed sleekly as a lover, but existing as a squatter, exercising domain over my property? I don’t know. But I know I was raised with right. I was learned to never judge a book by its cover alone and to never buy a home without inspecting it, or accept a gift without knowing its conditions precedent. I acted a fool.

He felt familiar. He felt like grandma’s bosom during a thunderous tornado storm in rural kansas, with the lights out. Home. He felt like the rush of water over my nude body, as i jumped from the tire swing in the tree. Home. He felt like cocoa butter on freshly washed flesh and olive oil on tight coils. He felt like that thing, that thing, that thinnnnnnggg. Home. But it got cold. Frigid. I could no longer see the door, the porch, the yard, the gate, the street. I knew home still existed. I know it does. But can no longer see it. Every now and again I feel closer, and then I hear the door slam. I’m not sure if my letters are received. I know the (right?) address. Sometimes there are automated responses, and I despair..I did..and then I remembered that a

“A chair is still a chair, even when there’s no one sitting there. A chair is not a house, and a house is not a home, when there is no one there to hold you tight. And no one there, that you can kiss goodnight.” 

I had been a squatter, graciously accepted, sometimes needed and always utilized. But I was neither family nor lover, neither  resident nor esteemed guest. I had a note of convenience but not the lease of love. When my flesh felt the bite of winter, I knew then, it was time to be warm, depart that space and a build home. Elsewhere.

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