Coming home is what I felt when her fingertips touched my lips, the curves of her body melted into mine, the love I saw when my eyes met hers, when she told me not to worry that it was my first time with a woman, “You will know what to do if you follow what I do.”

Home is the house I grew up in, soft comfortable furniture with muted colors and stuffed pillows, doors and hallways inviting reckless freedom, games of tag around and under the weeping mulberry bush, neighborhood with kids on bikes, dogs lose in the streets, an easy mile walk to school with no fears of attack.

Home was not my house of marriage, bore no personal imprint, white rectangular walls, no nooks and crannies, low ceilings, choices of décor made from compromise, my husband liked modern, I preferred old and comfortable. It reflected how little I knew my real preferences, unable yet to reveal that which I loved.

Home is my first apartment after separating from my husband, framed above my bed an antique photo, a weathered woman, hoe in her hands tilling her garden, in the bedroom crystals hang from the bay window sprinkling rainbows when touched by the sun. The bed is wrapped in colorful pillows and quilts, facing a small sculpture atop the old wooden dresser-— a kneeling woman arms reposed, fingertips touching, head bowed in meditation, her carved out body studded with small crystals, reflecting light from the candle burning between her folded legs. This home has me written on the walls and wooden floors, shouting my sense of freedom to be a woman who loves women.

Home is what I create with Judy after years of bickering and negotiating, which rooms would be hers, which mine, what artwork hers, mine, or ours, deciding roles for working in the garden, which leads us to a juncture where our home reflects an appreciation of our distinct esthetics, a place where differences begin to merge, the final product a shared work of art.

Home was not what my mother created for herself and my father after their four kids left home. Their next houses were masterpieces, sights to be seen, walls filled with endless paintings, modern furniture not built for comfort, inlaid wooden

floors and picture windows, a feast to the eyes, overstimulation, comfort and nourishment a mere memory of what they once had.

Home is a large stucco house where I now live with one mischievous cat, brick colored walls with creamy peach molding, worn furniture adorned with violet, emerald green, and tan throws hiding the sofas’ mangled arms, once used as the cat’s preferred tool for sharpening his claws, oriental rugs, orange, blue and beige accenting the hardwood floors. The house is haunted with phantom losses, which visit daily during silent meditation. They watch the home renovations, notice long periods of new solitude, they approve of my softening edges, a developing acceptance of my unfamiliar life. I see them fading when I stop comparing now with a disappearing then. They know their job will be finished when I realize home is right here, no matter where I reside.