The thing is the other day my dad called to say that he would not put the treadmill in my room because he was worried a World War III might break out and, in that case, I should definitely go home. My mom looks at me in disbelief when I tell her I might be working somewhere else next summer. Every time I come back everyone is asking when I am leaving while my friends make plans as if we were all moving back. The thing is there is no treadmill in my room but there is a whole pile of shit I don’t use on my desk and so at home by definition, I do not study.

The thing is that I was on the train that gets me home and I started crying. It’s hills and green just before it becomes sea and port and city. Afternoon light looked dense and sweet and it poured on the hills. My eyes were new again. My heart jumped. I wanted to jump too, out of the window, run on the train tracks, let the light pour on me too.Home had become more beautiful in the time we spent apart. Life walked backwards to the moment we parted. Same hills, car in the opposite direction, full of things, I wanted to be a turtle, the coming years were gonna teach me nothing is enough, something is always missing, so just travel light. Home let me go like the most dramatic lover. End of August colder than usual, people wearing sweaters at night, friends crying, (ex) girlfriend crying, mother (for the first time ever) crying, father (unusually) resisting. I, alone in a quarantine hotel room, crying looking in the mirror and thinking “You made it”. Life was all in front of me. I had not understood I had left home behind.

The thing is, in the first room I had away from here, there were no shutters to be closed. The streetlights could come in while I fell asleep and the sun never let me wake up late. At the beginning I hated it, it seemed to me such discomfort that the world had to keep coming in. In this new room that I have now, the second room I had away from here, there are shutters. I could lock the light out but I don’t. The world is looking over me already when I wake up. I grew to like waking up sunbathing. I woke up yesterday, in my childhood bedroom. It was dark, because my family home is on the first floor of an apartment building and my parents are worried about thieves and so the shutters are always closed. Often, when I am here and I come back late at night, I open the shutters and I listen to a song with the windows open and I smoke and I let the streetlights linger in my room. Then I obey family rules, I close the shutters and the glass and I fall asleep in the pitch dark room and I sleep so well. But I grew to hate waking up in the dark, so I sleepily get out of bed in the morning, open the shutters and then I soak in the warmth of the covers and the shy light of the morning.

The thing is I went out and I saw kids all dressed up sitting on the floor and moving from one side of the other of a square and drinking bad cocktails and beers and passing around cigarettes and joints and that was a Saturday used to mean. We sat together for a while and a guy told me about his break-up and told me I looked like his therapist and then noticed I had green eyes. Intimacy is an easy thing for people who walked through the same streets. A girl with my name made me draw cards, she asked for an initial, “of who” I asked, “Who do you want to know about?” At home I believe religiously. In the cards? In love. At home you can look at people from one side of the square to the other every Saturday for months. I wish I could fall in love like that again. Old-School. A boy I was talking to told me I just looked so adult and reassuring and I was happy until I realized I can’t fall in love like that anymore. Just old. A boy I was talking to told me I just looked so adult and reassuring and I was happy until I realized I can’t fall in love like that anymore. Just old. I thought the square was a flipper and I did all I could to win.

The thing is there are places where my ghosts hang out. The corner of my bed to check, mid-dinner, if somebody I like texted me. The mirror of my parents' room to check how pants fit on my legs and decide, always, that they do not fit how I want just yet. The beach where I cried my eyes out, so many times, still the place where I wanna go cry any time I am sad, still what I talk about when I say “the sea”. The gas station where I stole a street cone for a friend I don’t really speak to anymore. The way back home, more than everywhere else. At every turn a scene of tragic adolescent nights out, fruity cocktails, bare legs, a sadness to shake off all together. Home is the worst ex-lover you can imagine because she won’t say: ”I have changed”. She will say: ”You are the same”.

The thing is I don’t want home to be a cemetery. Home is Taylor Swift blasting in the car and everybody jokingly complaining. Home is my mom at the kitchen table gossiping. Home is the timetable of all buses and trains cause I did not learn how to drive. Home is a croissant at 6, everybody laughing from tiredness. Home is my friends and I never cook, always say we want to cook. Home is a bar where the waiter laughs at me cause I spent the summer saying: ”Just something with tequila”. Home is fertile ground. Home is a long-standing lover.