MY HOME
 
Let me tell you about my home. 
            Not my apartment, which is mine but not my home, overlooking the street with cars lined up against the curb, rustled up every Tuesday and Thursday from one side of the street to the other, so the street cleaner can blow through, careening around the occasional asshole with an orange parking violation slipped under his wipers. 
            Not the Ikea furniture I bought with my savings when I first moved in, the cheap wood hidden by a dark varnish.  Not the satin sheets or comforter I bought to burrow under, alone in the cold of winter.  Not the pictures of my past scattered on the plaster walls that I painted bright blue, half asleep after the move, determined to transform their beige indifference before I unpacked. 

            All of that is mine, but none of it is home. 

            Home is a secluded shore on Puget Sound, a short walk down from my parents' house, theirs, not mine, not home; one of many houses tucked away in suburbia. 

            You will find the shore after trudging down the steep hill, past the white gate blocking the road, past the sign that says "residents only."   Your feet will slide on the loose gravel spilling out across the cracked, threadbare cement.  The road will be decoupaged with leaves in the fall; happy weeds will sun there in the spring.  You will run down the last bit of the hill, and it will launch you onto the shore that is not mine, but is my home. 

            That water, so clear and calm, lapping the beach, more pebbles than sand.  The water stretching out, embracing islands, populated by trees more than people, always green.  On a clear day, a rare blessing, the view will be framed by mountains on both sides.  The Olympics to the west, plural, jagged rocks with veins of ice, packed against the sky like solid clouds.  Mount Rainier to the east, singular and penetrating, anchored in the landscape like the oyster boats in the next cove. 

            Behind you, tucked behind a spit of land, is a marina for residents with boats.  A single dock leads down from a locked gate, watched by a security camera mounted to a tree.  The marina is nothing more than a hole dug out, connected to the Sound by a shallow canal.  When the tide is out, the canal is nothing more than a stretch of mud, and the boats hit bottom and lean uncomfortably, waiting for the tide to come back in. 

            When I lived there, I was like those boats, waiting for the tide to come in so I could leave.  I mistook stillness for boredom, and left with a man who said "I love you."  Now, when I close my eyes and search for something to sustain me, I stand on that secluded shore, and know I'm home.