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Home is a place we may have to leave to fully understand.

The more times we return, the more clearly the map of its markings become etched onto the back of our hands. Coming home, we realize that there are many places where we don't fit. Home brings the necessity of belonging into view by way of relief.

Home is where they miss you when you're gone. Where they know your pressure points, weird food phobias, and stories about debaucherous nights in hot tubs.

Home is where you've cried until it wasn't cute and they sat with you and then suggested watching Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Home is where they carried boxes of your things up the hill in the snow because breathing clean air is important. Home is where we met.

Home is where we don't have to explain who we are; where the fine lines of memory form a structure that holds us in, reinforcing the security of knowing each other now.

Home is where we piled into tiny cars and sang Blink 182 at the top of our lungs, where we got stoned in the parking lot and listened to your new favorite song with our eyes closed.

Home is where we said we could only talk for five more minutes and two hours later, decided to get ice cream. Home is where we sacrificed hundreds of hours of sleep to be awake together. Home is where we're allowed to be a burden.

Home is where you told me I was beautiful when I accidentally dyed my hair orange, where we took those terrible pictures of me in my underwear, where we had a seance and prayed that everyone we love would find happiness. Home is where we stopped questioning what life is about and just lived it for a while.

Home is where we learn what we need by not getting it. Home is where you picked me up after I got dumped and made me laugh so hard I begged you to stop.

Home is where they sing your song to you when you've forgotten it.

Home is where we start to forgive, not because we choose to, but because the shock of time topples the shapes of our lives over until we're holding them in our lap like toy blocks. Loss makes us grateful, and gratitude makes us want to bring something back home.