sunlight. shadow. a lingering smell of dryer lint and early sunday dinners, dinners made of beans and rice and red chili peppers. shadows stretch over the chipped bark groundcover, reaching for the jade and the concrete sidewalk. houses loom in cool shades of blue, the sunlight contrasting in bright yellow on the faded stucco walls - pink, tan, brown, white - and sunbleached fascia board. wrought-iron gates make a sharp contrast to the neighbor’s tattered, tumbling board fence. a manicured landscape beside a weedy dirt expanse.
flip flip flip. you hear your stride in rhythms of three instead of two and you round the corner, out of the shade and into the sun stretched thin across the park. the breeze pushes at your hair, stroking it back over your shoulders, teasing it loose as stray strands catch on your sunglasses. everything seems blue when you’ve been looking at the light so long. blue and a faded gold, tinted green. cool tones, even in the warmth. the graffiti has been painted over, leaving pink sides on a brown bench, a green electrical box, a grey light post. the eucalyptus is still a lanky monster, as tall as you remember from your childhood. slim and waving and shedding its narrow hair over rough, tangled clumps of grass.
you feel like you’ve never left. you feel like you’ve always belonged. you have. you will. home is not the house you grew up in, home is not the yellow bedroom in a cloudy city of coffee and evergreens. home is here, in the sun, in the bougainvillea and blue skies. home is in the stucco walls and faded fascia. home is in the dirt and dried grass. home is here.