what makes you want to stay

I sat on the beach on the faded old towel I’d brought from home. Home home. Stolen from my mother’s laundry room while packing for the big move. The adventure. Also known as South Korea.

The tiny salty waves crashed on the shore as I stared out into the blue and chewed on some dried mango chunks. An Austrailian dude and his big yellow dog drew a large crowd of interested Koreans to the exact spot on the beach that was located in front of me and my little towel. We all watched together, smiling and laughing, as the man threw a pinecone into the waves and the dog happily retrieved it over and over, barking at his owner when the pine cone was not thrown again quickly enough. After ten minutes of this, the man and his dog walked on, and the crowd dispersed, and again I sat alone watching the ocean, holding an empty dried mango bag.

I would see them both again, the man and his dog, Sadie. I would hear him call her name each time she ran too far down the beach. I would see her yellow fur wet from the ocean waves. He would recognize me the next day, the white girl from the faded beach towel, as we stood at the intersection together, waiting to cross, to leave the beach and go back from wherever we both came from. He would look back at me over his shoulder, just for a moment, saying nothing, and I would avoid meeting his eye.

And then I would cross the street, leave the beach, and go home. But not home home.

And since I crossed that street, I’ve been thinking about it. Home. And what home means. And where my home is. And the things people need to feel happy in a place. The things that make you want to stay. The lack of things that makes you want to leave.

People. Love. Comfort. These things?

People. People to see, people to talk to, people to be friends with.

Love. People to love. Things to love. Places to love. To be happy and in love with yourself and your current place in the world.

Comfort. To be safe and happy or at least ok with your home. To like where you are. To feel like you’re actually going home when you go there.

What else? What makes you want to stay? Is it harder to know unless you leave?

It felt like going home to leave that beach. But also, it didn’t. It felt like leaving. And it felt like I would still be gone once I arrived. Yet, I stay.

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