• e. huntington

Going Home

He never knew where home was. Not even when he felt like he found it. There was always that itching, that yearning. He could be surrounded by his closest friends, in his favorite places, but it always felt...off.


Now, in the supermarket, he watched a few moms scurry by with their toddlers wailing or singing; the old lady by the avocados picked each one up gingerly, testing. He was holding a basket, hooked over his left arm, absent-mindedly grabbing a carton of grapes.


As he turned on his heel, staring lazily into space, he saw something catch his eye and changed his path.


The package was holographic, a paper back with clear plastic showcasing the product. Afraid to touch it at first, he just stared. Memories flooded his mind. A strand of pearls, heels, a satin dress. He could almost smell the perfume from her closet, the one he stole and kept for a while after she was gone.


Nana had been a stage singer in her early 20s, and continued to live like a diva her entire life. He had stayed with her summer after summer while his parents worked. He never minded it. It was home for him. The last home he ever had.


When she passed, her body was covered in glitter (her choice) before the flames licked it away. He swore he could feel her leaving, feel her laughing, feel her happy.


Then that was it - he never felt at home again.


When he got to the check out, he quickly paid, placing the items in the heavy brown paper bag and scurrying out past the other customers and employees. He thought they were all staring. He thought he could feel it.


But they weren't. No one ever noticed him. He had tried to be a stage actor once, but it never felt right. It didn't have the same flair as Nana when she used to dress up and dance around the living room, cigarette in one hand, bourbon in the other.


"It only takes a moment." She had told him over and over. "A moment in time when it all makes sense and you just start to live my dear. Chase that moment until you find it and make it all yours."


"I never found it, Nana." He said out loud to no one but himself.


He swear he heard her laugh as he could see her twirling, a glittered shawl over her shoulders in front of her big fireplace.


He set the grocery bag on the counter, quietly contemplating the memory. When he got to the bottom of the bag, he felt the weird, hard shapes and stopped. He didn't even remember buying them. Slowly he pulled out rouge, lipstick, eyeshadow - a random assortment of tones and shades and unneeded items.


But they felt like home.


His breathing slowed as he stared at the lipstick. He remembered the satin dress Nana let him wear and how it felt. He remembered the pearls around his neck, the heels that were too big for his own small feet.


The perfume.


He tore through his dresser, his closet, searching. It was just a glass bottle, but it was the answer. His hands hit the cool pink tassel first, then grasped the bottle. As he pulled it out and set it on top of the dresser, he stared at his own face.


This was it. This was that moment.


She was walking through the grocery store in a silk top, her jeans longer than needed to accommodate her snakeskin pumps. She smiled at the toddlers and the old lady selecting a cantaloupe.


She grabbed her bagged salad, then turned down the aisles, finding the various items on her list. As she neared the make-up section, she smiled at a little boy, standing next to his mom, helping her pick out a lipstick color. Her lips were bright red and the smile revealed beautiful white teeth.


They were all looking at her, studying her, as she checked out.


She laughed internally, knowing Nana would have been so proud as she twirled heading out the door, her glittered scarf gently flowing as she headed home.



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