home

Home is where I can be alone. Be myself.

Home is where I feel comfortable, warm, happy and secure.

Home is calm. Home is peace.

Home is solitude and familiarity.

It isn't about the stuff that fills it, it isn't about the bricks and mortar. It's the essence of home that I crave, the feeling of home, the comfort of home. I could live in any house and feel at home just as long as my loves are living in it with me.

When I was younger, wilder, and adrift in the world with no safe place to go, I had a fantasy home imprinted in my mind. This home was a tiny cottage at the base of a hill, it is winter time in this fantasy and cold outside. There is warm light in the windows and smoke curling out of the chimney. This was accompanied by a feeling that I belonged to somebody and they were on their way home to me. The atmosphere was calming and peaceful and I wanted those things so badly, it would often make me feel sick.

They call it homesick for a reason. At school you would sometimes find yourself floored by a wave of homesickness, the feeling coming out of nowhere in response to a smell, a sound or a memory. I would often feel homesick in the dinner queue, or watching the Eastenders omnibus on a Sunday. One summer term, when I was ten, I felt homesick every single night and had to be given 'sleeping tablets' by matron which seemed to work and which I later found out were nothing but paracetamol.

I have that longed for comfort now, so I cherish and guard it with a passion. I try not to be away from home for any extended length of time (yes holidays are a wrench), or socialise on consecutive days. When the weekend calendar is empty, I rejoice, for sitting on the sofa with a book reigns supreme. I am happy when it's raining outside because it means I have an excuse to stay in all day and when the snow comes and traps us in our houses, you will find me doing a dance, I am in heaven.

I used to feel embarrassed that I felt this way, being an introvert in a world of extroverts can be difficult at the best of times. But I'm too old to be embarrassed of who I am now, plus you get to forty and realise that you don't give a shit what anyone else thinks anyway.