I am right in the centre of my family—Mum to my right, Dad to my left, one cat by the fire, the other with a chair all to himself. My brother is out playing football. I am writing this from home, a place which makes much more sense to my brain than anywhere else, sinking into the sofa whose sensation I forgot.
The long journey home today was long, but only because I made a mistake and got a bus going in the wrong direction. I listened to Arctic Monkeys’ AM twice over before I eventually got to the right station. I was so relieved. I closed my eyes on the tube and let the Northern Line soothe me. I never panicked at any point—I only felt pleasantly tired. I suppose London doesn’t scare me anymore.
I am hardened. Coming home again, I felt larger—my formerly sprawling home now feels like a cottage, cozy and dim. The strip lights and bare windows of my student accommodation in London seem so harsh in comparison, and the vastness of the city makes me feel like an ant. I have grown used to savage London drivers. I am no longer intimidated by the maze of the Underground map. I can maintain a poker face when encountering people I still have confusing feelings for. The idea of coming back to Birmingham gave me energy. I see it as a holiday. I was getting overly tired in London.
But I do belong there. I already take for granted how easily I fit in at my university. In one way or another, I share interests with almost everyone I meet. I can sing and dance along to Grease and Beyoncé with my flatmates, and buy Arcade Fire tickets with my other friends. People don’t turn up their noses when I say I am off to a Feminist Society meeting. There is some sort of understanding between most people that I’ve never experienced before.
Even still, I was excited to come home and have hot baths and free food and soft furry cats to cuddle. I suppose I belong in both places, that I have two homes. ♦