Missing Home

By Lily Zacheis ’21

Home for me used to be something whole. Something that would always remain unchanged, a secure place, a safe haven. I never really expected that to change, and I didn’t think I would mind if it did. But I was wrong. It seems I’m always wrong these days.
Nearly three years ago, we moved from beautiful, colorful Fort Collins, Colorado to dry, hot Tucson, Arizona. I wasn’t all that bothered. It was hard watching everything get packed up and sent away. It was hard seeing the place where I grew up so empty. It was hard thinking about not ever stepping foot in my home again. But I pretended not to mind. I did.
I’m never going to forget my first night in our new house. I slept with my sister on a mattress in the guest room. For the first time I didn’t notice her kicking or rolling me off the bed. I noticed how different everything was. I noticed how hard this was going to be. I realized with a pang that everything was going to be different from now on.
My first year in middle school was hard too. Everyone else was so different. I was different. New teachers every thirty minutes, nearly a thousand kids stuffed in small stuffy areas, many of them towering above me by a couple feet. It was kinda intimidating. I had stayed in the same school for six years, with only about fifty to a hundred kids per grade. This was a nightmare. But I kept my head up.
Returning home after school at night wasn’t much relief. The house was filthy, even if you didn’t count the boxes everywhere, and I didn’t know so much as an inch of the space. This was going to be my life for the next five years. Maybe ten. Maybe more. The worst part was not knowing.
But looking back, not knowing was bliss.