Home For the Holidays


christina charles

Family Members

I lie when I say I am going home for the holidays.

  • Home is where the heart is and I seem to have misplaced mine. I can’t remember the last time I felt it beat in my chest. I know where it used to be:
  • In the banana pudding, they’d fight for. The recipe has since been lost, and I’m not sure
    where or who “they” are. Picture a few human figures bickering loudly with admiration in their voices and determination where their eyes should be.
  • In the pullout sofa big enough for three, with one adult, one teen and a small child packed like sardines. What I’d give to sleep in the middle once more.
  • In the half-gallon blue QT cups that I loved to fill for my grandparents, pattering feet and the trail of ice water from the fridge to their nightstands.

When I say I am going home for the holidays, I mean I am seeing the ones left who knew me, however briefly, better than I knew myself. These people are the ones who understood my cries better when I couldn’t speak than when I chose not to. The language given to me meant to bridge the divide between myself and the world seems to have been half-built.

I keep my things in my bag when I visit because there’s enough to unpack around here.

When I say that I am going home, I mean I am going to see the ones that taught me my original meaning, a meaning I have since rewritten countless times. I haven’t sent them the latest addition because it is jumbled across what feels like lifetimes despite being only the beginning. To be fair, I rarely give chances for understanding.

Family can be a missed connection like that.

“I was born. you were complicated. I couldn’t help noticing something was off. I was the one who turned away. you are the one to maintain that everything is fine.”

If clashing understandings of the past meet the realities of the present meet visions of endless futures all at once every time you visit “home” how often would you go? How soon would you look for a new one? Home in quotation because these faces and places I return to are distorted, or clearer, again I am not sure.

The mind likes to play tricks. Sometimes it cuts things out and replaces details to remember a vague feeling similar to joy in the way it can warm or cool on command. It may be joy, but it is either too shallow to dive head first or part of me knows memories of home have become a mirage though I still pull myself toward them.