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This is a story based upon my writers group prompt to write about going home. The story is a form of fictionalized truth.

“Life happens while you are making other plans.”

Sometimes that old cliche nags at me, especially when it comes to the holidays.

Holidays sneak up on me. I don’t know why. They happen the same time every year. You’d think the habit of the holidays would somehow incorporate itself into my schedule better. Alas, it’s three weeks before Christmas and I’ve not done a thing in preparation. There won’t be any going home for the holidays this year.

Home. That mystical word. Home and family. A mixed metaphor in my life. Home is a word that has haunted me from my earliest memories.

As a child, holidays were spent with relatives and friends, homes where I felt special and included, a part of something, a feeling I never had in my own home. Home was a place of divisiveness, arguments, unjust accusations, punishments that drove us into our various corners. Alone time was cherished, sought, welcomed. Togetherness brought frustration, anxiety, and the desire to flee.

As an adult, having two homes is a sign of wealth. In childhood, it is a sign of divorce, separation of state and state, each one with their own rules. Divorcing as began my trip through puberty, home meant confusion, uncertainty, mines, and theirs. There was the place where I spent my school days and a second place where I spent my weekends and summers. Step parents with children enlarged the family. I became theirs and ours rather than mine.

Feeling as if I had no home, no roots, I turned to travel, moving easily from place to place. It was just a bed. A temporary roof. Keep the suitcase packed, just in case.

Newly married, new husband and I took the art of living on the road to a new level, traversing North America and the world for years on end. We’d rest for a day or two, maybe a month, occasionally longer. Then on to the next job, next adventure.

The question of home arose on a daily basis.

“Where are you from?” is a common question in the traveling world.

For me, it became a question of “where did you grow up,” “where did you spent the majority of your life,” “where did you just come from,” and other between-the-lines answers sought. What was the answer they really wanted. What did they really want to know about us and our “home” that would help them define us in their community and world.

When falling in love together, my husband had a hard time first saying the words “I love you.” Understanding deeply my sense of lost self, he would hold me close and say “Home is where Lorelle is.”

Over the years his words sank in. Home is where Lorelle is. HOME is where Lorelle is. Home is WHERE Lorelle IS.

He taught me that home is where you make it, so I’m going home to me now.