Lake and Sumter Style Magazine
4:30 pm EDT
Friday, August 14, 2020

Where the heart is


I love my life. I love my friends. But sometimes, I just want to go home.

Story: Rheya Tanner

As a little girl, I was cursed with homesickness. No matter how fun it was to stay at a friend’s, a neighbor’s, even my grandma’s house, I’d never sleep soundly through the night. I’d always find myself lying awake, feeling alone, longing for home.

But that longing never followed me on my family’s summer road trips to Tennessee riverbanks and Georgia mountainsides. Maybe it was the hushed energy that moved through nature there, or maybe the presence of loved ones, that kept it at bay. Whatever it was, it turned those weeklong vacation houses into magical lands that felt like…home. 

What is that, the sense of “home”? Is it family? Nostalgia? Contentment? I used to think it was simply a place, specifically the place where I spent 20 years growing up. But at some point as we were moving out of that place, I discovered that all the “home” had trickled out along with the boxes.

If you asked me today,
I’d say I currently have two homes: one in my little RV tucked behind the trees lining the highway, and another in my mom’s house. Both soothe a different ache in my soul, and neither feels quite like home without the other. However, I’d also say I find a touch of home in church pianos and in my mother’s hands. I find it in my favorite pajamas, quiet nighttime drives, blank journals, and the giant stuffed dog my dad bought me when I was sick that one time. 

Of course, those aren’t places. Yet all the same, they welcome me, comfort me, and, for just a split second, they give me everything I’ve spent my life searching for.

I am 23 now—by no means a grown-up, but certainly an adult. I’ve felt happiness. I’ve felt loss. I am the fullest and the emptiest I’ve ever been. But somehow I haven’t escaped that childhood curse. On some nights still, when the thick velvet sky presses heaviest against the roof of my house, I find myself lying awake, alone. Longing for home.