By: Esha Aphale
(@eshalikestowrite on Instagram)

“Home,” she said, swirling the two-syllables in her mouth just like one would swirl a bitter poison. The word coming out of her mouth felt like someone spitting out blood; someone releasing a monster from their mouth. “Home” was supposed to be a warm word; a word that reminded someone of frozen grapefruits and the smell of freshly laundered sheets. “Home” was supposed to be a sweet word; a word that reminded someone of summer lemonades and rest after a long and heavy day.

“Home,” she said once again. It didn’t sound like home from her mouth. It sounded like she was taking the name of a place that should’ve never existed; a place of horror and heartbreak. A place where innocence died and the world’s worst nightmares were crafted. A place with cold hallways, and chipped off paint revealing scars of the past.

“Home.” She said, for the final time. This time, her mouth twisted oddly and a chill passed through. This time it sounded like a place you’d want to run far, far away from and not run towards. “Home” from her mouth and eyes sounded the worst place to ever be in. I wanted to ask her, shake her, beg her to tell me why her version of “home” didn’t match mine or the countless cliched, cheesy quotes that rolled in after typing those four letters on google. But I was too scared to. What was her home? I had so many questions, but I chose not to materialize them in front of her. I sucked on my cigarette, flicked its ashes into the chilly November air. I got up, wanting to get away from her, the hard stare in her eyes, the coldness and static surrounding her. I decided it was time to go back to my home. I had already started walking when she called out my name with an urgency that made me turn back. I couldn’t move, only stare at her and wait with a baited breathe for what she had to say.

Her jaw was flinching, her eyes were glassy but looked shattered. She parted her lips, “A house, but never a home.”

(Picture courtesy: Pinterest.com)

To read more by Esha, check out The Word, and to read part 1 to this piece, click here.