Find Me a Place Called Home

After a lifetime of traveling and four years living in Airbnbs, I’ve finally found home

Felicia C. Sullivan

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Photo by Iza Gawrych on Unsplash

When I was younger, I’d filch the real estate listings from the local Pennysaver and pore over the apartments for rent — a new home brought with it the possibility of happiness. Or something that resembled it. On weekends, I’d board buses that stretched the length of Long Island, spending hours getting lost in the unfamiliar.

Oceanside was a miniature theater that played Dream a Little Dream. Freeport was dirt, soot, and exhaust. Cold Spring Harbor was a boardwalk where I’d watch men fish in waters of glinting glass. Nursing a Coke and a warm cookie, I’d trace over the barnacles that covered the rotting wood. Bethpage was far, and home to a Little Caesars where I’d tear apart breadsticks with cold hands. “You have pastry hands,” a lover once told me.

I’d come home from my travels and report about the places I’d seen. “We could move here. We could start over,” I’d beg my mother. Sometimes, she was an accomplice to my escape fantasies. We even visited that apartment in Oceanside. I told her about the research I’d done — digging up high school yearbooks in the local library, and cataloging the nearest laundromats, supermarkets, and bagel shops.

“We can’t just walk right into the unknown, we have to have a plan,” I told her. “We have to be prepared, ready.” She agreed, and I loved her in those moments when we were co-conspirators — when it was just us against the world. I cherished this feeling, even though I knew that we had already become strangers, passing right by each other on the downslopes of a family in disrepair.

Until I left for college, our home was that cramped one-bedroom apartment in Valley Stream. Where cat litter seeped into the floorboards. Where leftover bits of peach pie and cigarette butts were scattered under the bed. Where the volume of the television set was turned down to a low, painful murmur. Even the shouts were whispers. “Wheel! Of! Fortune!”

Our home was above a basement where my cat had suffocated, and the news of her violent death brought me to my knees. They said she ran wild, and clawed for her escape. I opened my mouth in horror, but no sound came out. It was a home my mother…

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Felicia C. Sullivan

Marketing Exec/Author. I build brands & tell stories. Hire me: t.ly/bEnd7 My Substack: https://feliciacsullivan.substack.com/ Brand & Content eBooks: t.ly/ZP5v