I am in my giant antique bed with all ten pillows around me. The bed has a tall headboard with an intricate design carved into it. The footboard’s carvings match the headboards, but the footboard has a flat top, which is wide enough to walk on. My pillows have slowly flattened after years of use. I look at the bookshelves lining my wall, tall ones, short ones, thin ones, and fat ones. Every space on the shelves covered in books. Some of the books are history books, and others are cheesy rom coms, but all of them are my favorite. A few of the books are over 100 years old. They belonged to my great grandparents. I make the exact number of steps to get to the light switch in the bathroom. Like a Jedi, I nimbly step over clothes and shoes scattered on the floor reaching at the perfect moment for the switch. I hear my family up stairs in the den. Daddy likes to watch tv late into the night, and I know it is a favorite film or show if he is quoting or singing along to it. Not to mention the laughter, I hear that best of all.
I am home.
Then I remembered I wasn’t.
My bed is an ancient box spring and mattress on the floor. Every single spring can be felt through this mattress; there is no comfort. I only have two pillows, and they are already flat. The headboard is a wall that I continuously hit in my sleep, and the footboard is nonexistent. It’s just the end of the bed. The only things lining my wall is a desk covered in junk and a radiator giving me a small ounce of heat. I have zero hard copy books here; my Kindle is the only source of imaginary adventure. The exact number of steps to the bathroom light switch is very different. Out of bed, two steps, open the door, seven steps, light switch on the right. The bathroom is on a long hallway that is at best 37 degrees F on a warm day. My toes freeze and goose bumps rise every time I need to go to the bathroom. The people above me don’t speak English. I hear them stomping around like mastodons on migration. A little kid drags a toy across the floor creating a mixture of stomps and scratch. There is laughter, but it is not the same.
I am not home.