by Carmen Mojica Fabian

The subject of home comes with a lot of emotions, thoughts, and memories. Physically, I am living in the South Bronx. I’ve called the Bronx home for nineteen years. My parents bore and raised our family for the first seventeen years of my life in the Morrison-Soundview area before they moved to Albany and I went away to college. Post-college life heralded a series of moves into different versions of home; I was and am in search of comfort. Of an abode to call my own–in search of recreating the warmth that was my childhood home.

I’ve often questioned what makes a home. The quote that comes to mind is, “home is where the heart is.” I’ve thought that was a bit cheesy. But my experience has proven that quote true. The heart of this proverbial home is feeling loved and supported by the physical environment. My home left me in the last year of high school. My parents made the decision to move to Albany and wanted me to stay and finish with my graduating class. I was grateful and resentful at the same time. It is from this instance that my quest to reclaim and reconstruct home began. I have been chasing home for the last 4 years.

I’ve wondered if home wanted me back. If I was capable of creating it for myself. I moved more times than I’d liked in the last four years, from temporary stints on couches to a few months in an apartment. So many times I just wanted to crawl into my mother’s bed and have her tell me it was all okay. It was not until recently that I realized I could always do that. Even with the disagreements we’ve had over ideologies, that option was always there. The love was always there. I began to see that home was not just a physical location; people are home too.

More than ever, the pursuit of a stable home, both physically and in people, has become a goal. In my true Cancerian nature, I enjoy the comforts of a warm bed, a cup of hot tea, plenty of hugs, and a quiet night indoors. My current living situation is the closest to home that I’ve felt in a long time. It has been a healing place to be in the last 8 months. It is stable. My roommates and I care about each other and check in with each other. We tell each other we miss each other when it’s been a few days since we’ve crossed paths. I love the nights when I sit in Elliott’s room and catch up with him. Having heart to hearts with him and with my other roommate warm me up. They make me believe that finding comfort in a physical location with loving human beings is a reality.

It is time for me to leave again. To pack up all my things and go home. This time closer to my family. In all this moving around and searching for home, I finally crave to be near my roots. The appreciation I have for the feeling of home in loved ones has permeated and healed the relationships I had with family members who I had pushed away when I lost home. The amount of unconditional love that chosen family – friends, sister, friends and the like – has shown me the unconditional love that those closest to me have always had. I suppose getting older changes things. As I plan out the rest of my life with my partner, the concept of home becomes ever more important. In the hustle and bustle of everyday living, a warm place, a caring person, and stable support merge into what I consider to be home.