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soft breeze rustles the blades of grass by my eyes. standing up, you can’t tell that the grass isn’t perfectly green, nor is it perfectly level.


i used to sit out with a towel on summer days like this, thinking there’s no place i’d rather be- that in this moment, i breathe in the humid air and time pauses, even for a nanosecond. from above, the familiar trees waving, floating; it’s been some time since they’ve greeted me.


stillness. in this moment, i am still. i am not wishing i am anywhere but here, i’m perfectly fine.


i understand the quiet now. it took me across many countries, across many years of retracing my steps, back to this moment, in suburban America. i hold no definition of home but home holds me, i forget how tightly she does until that feeling of stillness tugs at my bones.


when i was a little girl, i had this backpack, hidden all the way into the depths of my closet, ready for an escape. in it: a flashlight, a couple dollars, my notepad and pen, a scarf, my favorite book with folded pages, and my second favorite toy (not my first because i’d play the most with that one of course). the last item was the only that i’d ever swap out for an infrequent exchange. in would go my hello kitty figurine and out would go my rainbow pastel plush dog. i’d zip the small backpack back up, a quiet routine i’d do alone. cross-legged on the tough, beige carpet- alone. just for myself.


that was what was necessary for my own sake. knowing i didn’t have to be exactly here, i can go anywhere i want, with everything i could ever need. if my guardian angel needed a break, i could go live in South America out of a suitcase. i can move across the country on a half a whim and two suitcases. if things don’t work out, i can dig out that backpack out of the closet.


but the trees aren’t the same, the sky not as still. i lay down with my eyelashes blinking away loose, green blades of grass, on an old towel. i hear my father’s endless tv in the background. my mother opens a creaky window.


everything is still again, i don’t have to be anywhere but here.