Brown paper packages.
The unsightly, chipped pillar being a reminder of an old bicycling incident; peeling paint from weather-stained rooftops that have steadfastly withstood decades of harsh sun and rain; priceless and artistic “masterpieces” left on the walls courtesy of a two-year-old you; overgrown prickly shrubs at the far end of the garden where you spent your younger years trapping spiders from.
Some nightmares need to stay buried in the deepest recesses of our minds, but there too are old times worth another shot at reliving. Because in the end, we take along not just memories, but leave also something of ourselves behind: ones that can never be simply packed into boxes, like you would to high school yearbooks containing incriminating pictures of yourself in various comical poses at the last class party, or colourful keychains of all shapes and sizes from travels around the world, left aside for so many years that you have even forgotten how and where you got them from in the first place.
It is the tender touch of the living – the meticulously-trimmed bonsai plant sitting proudly by the window sill; the sweet aftertaste of yesterday’s home-baked lemon meringue pie still crisp in the air; the annoying yet assuring creak of the front wooden door signifying the return of a loved one: these are the comforting and familiar sights, smells and sounds of a place fondly called home. All this makes a house come alive, and without its occupants it simply is a dead shell – a quickly languishing structure many shades below that of its former glory.
The upcoming four months is not going to be easy, and I simply cannot wait to go home.
I never thought about love when I thought about home.