Your first memory is of carpeting; your exhausted figure resting on fabric warmed by sunlight flooding through. You don’t remember the smell of the carpet because you spent so much time laying down on it that you became used to whatever smell it had if any. Does it still feel like home now? The fresh smell of the jungle-like backyard, why was the property so big? What was your family going to do with all that space anyway? I remember you telling me about the leaves from the bushes that grew all the way up to your balcony (was it a bush or a tree?) tasted like acrylic paint, and that you were too young to understand that bush leaves weren’t leaves you could eat but you were old enough to understand that they didn’t taste good. You didn’t tell me about the garden your mom had, or what remained of it after she devoted all her gardening time to keep you safe. You told me about the taste of constantly having the same thing for dinner every night (you really did like that canned meat stuff, or whatever you called it.) and the sputtering sparks of noise that came from a pan simmering with heat. You remembered the smells of the rising vapors of cooked rice and how they smelled like wet paper towels but tasted like rice. You told me infinite things about the feeling of touching and tasting things you shouldn’t touch and shouldn’t taste. You told me how stressful it was to get up in the morning every day and how unforgiving your parents were when it came to personal hygiene and getting up in the morning every day or how unforgiving your parents were when it came to getting up in the morning every day. You never really had friends over, birthday parties were filled with family and family friends in your house but never your friends they stayed home because your parents never bothered to invite them cause you had so much family. You told me about how much family you had (it’s a lot) and how that house felt like a palace when everyone was over. You recall baking banana bread with your aunt (who was staying over because her ex ran off with all her money) and how the baking pans overflowed and chunks of batter splattered over the bottom of the oven (your mom laughed and recommended they add yogurt to the batter next time) or how you scuffed and scratched a wall with height markers hoping you’ll become as tall as your dad. You tell me about your mom and dad and how your house became a warzone then a bunker then they left each other but it’s okay because you still have them just not them together. It was never the same after that because you felt alone but it’s okay you had space and you had time. You left out how hurt you were about the whole situation but that was okay because everything is fine or so you claim, I don’t really believe you. You tell me all about all the people who came through your house but you leave out him why leave out him? Or how it felt to be whole, presence lifting your eyes, or how he made you feel safe and valued? There was a moat around your home heart and nobody could cross it but he did. I want to know about that. I want to know about how you never could let him in but how persistent he was. He said dumb things and looked dumb and was dumb but you liked him anyway because you could say dumb things together and look dumb together and be dumb together and be safe together because you could never let yourself get hurt again no matter what and even though just looking at him was painful you were dumb and you did a dumb thing which was let down the bridge to your home heart and let him through your guarded gates. I want to know about your last memory of carpeting; your exhausted figure resting on fabric warmed by sunlight walking in with a smile.