Message from the editors -
1. A house, apartment, or condo
2. The place where one lives permanently
3. A place where something thrives, is typically found, kept, or originates
4. Of or relating to the place where one lives (“home cooking”)
5. A family, or social unit
6. A feeling of belonging
This is Spotlight's third issue for the 2016-2017 school year and the theme is “home”. We have been working very hard to cultivate a homey, warm feeling right before the Winter break, hoping to coincide with the start of warm winter activities, family events, and holiday celebrations. The theme “home” can be understood in many different ways such as a literal place, a feeling, a sense, a relationship, comfort, belonging, or welcoming. We hope you enjoy the wonderfully written pieces featured in this spotlight, and the photos that accompany them.
- The Home Spotlight Team (Jackson, Sophia, Melissa, Gabby, Rylie)
5 signs you’ve found someone you can call home
Houses become homes
when there is love.
No feelings are forgotten,
caring people accept,
don't manipulate and lie.
So fake love?
People trust you will
will you trust.
People love fake,
so lie and manipulate.
Don't accept people caring.
Forgotten are feelings,
no love is there,
when homes become houses.
She pirouettes in the kitchen,
the cd player skip skip skipping,
playing east coast Christmas.
The tree has been set up,
crooked and star-less and yet
the most beautiful tree I've ever seen.
I thread jute
through ornaments and tie it in bows
and suspend them from the branches
where they hang like pearl earrings
and the cd player skip skip skips
and I pirouette in the kitchen,
stockinged feet on tile floor
awaiting the oven to ding.
I feel warmer inside
than the fire in the hearth
than a scarf shielding porcelain skin
from frost and wind,
warmer than even the oven itself,
as it bakes shortbread to place with milk
by the fireside tonight.
A House Versus A Home
A house is something physical that can be destroyed or left behind. A home can be anywhere that you make it, something that travels with you no matter where you go. I’ve lived in many houses throughout my life, but never once have I lost my home.
I reach for my home
but you aren’t there;
my scrabbling fingers
meet cold air.
My heart sinks,
my chest caves in;
you’re my shelter, my love,
my place to begin.
And so when you leave,
with nothing to say,
that’s how I know my home
has drifted away.
I step out of the café and into the cool air.
She walks beside me, the warmth from before slowly fading as the air tints her cheeks.
“I don’t want to go home,” she admits, and lets go of my hand.
I exhale, and watch my breath become fog.
I don’t want to go home either.
“You have to go home,” I reply.
I put my hands in my pockets.
“You have to go home.”
Stories are a home
we live in only for a short while.
They let us watch their lives,
see their hopes and dreams and failures unfold.
They allow us to find refuge from our stories in their own,
and when we have finished the book
and move on to the next,
the homes we made stay with us.
for the day we call that story home once more.
She kept it all.
She couldn’t help herself. You see, life moves so fast—it moves so damn fast that you forget everything as soon as it’s over. How else could she remember her daughter’s first Christmas or her son’s kindergarten graduation without the foetid, ceiling-high pile of photo albums?
He left the house on the 12th of January, said he’d grown tired of watching his step. They live together now, her two children. Her daughter walked out first. Left as soon as she hit 18. She resents the choice a bit, think it planted a seed in her son’s head that couldn’t be dug up. Reaching for an album in the middle, a sort of Jenga game with herself, a tiny plastic bag falls out. Locks of golden blonde hair are contained inside. Their first haircut.
Aborting the idea to catapult down memory lane, she tiptoes her way to the kitchen like a drugged-up tap dancer. She picked the cleanest paper plate she could find out of the sink then promptly dropped it. It had been Charlie’s, he had eaten pizza from it the night he left a few weeks ago. He’d promised to call, and (though she didn’t have a clue where the phone was), she was certain he never did. The outer edges still smell of his after-shave.
A time as lonely as this, she cannot remember. Yet somehow she finds comfort in the roses she’d saved. Every rose he ever brought her sits in a musty vase with the lip chipped off—she had bumped into it a few days ago and managed to salvage the pieces just enough for it to function. Though the stems and leaves are both tinted a dull brown and more closely resemble the leaves of fall than a token of love, she remembers the story behind them all. One from the bedroom of the hotel that Christmas her parents were over. One from the wedding. One from New Years. One per Valentine’s day, ‘89 through to ‘07.
The fridge door can only open about an inch, and though the bulb flickers and the inside smells sour and rank, she finds joy in the carton of orange juice that expired last month. Her children had come to visit on her birthday and she’d purchased it just for them. Growing up, her son adored sucking the orange pulp through his teeth until he was prescribed sensitivity toothpaste. It was expensive so they never got it, and his enamel has been a shitshow from then on. However, eleven years later and the dusty dishes covered in grey phlegm had deterred him from his favourite drink. It remains unopened to this very day, and she has not seen her children since.
She kept it all.
She couldn’t help herself. You see, life moves so fast and though she can now remember it all, she herself can no longer move.
An empty home.
A house that’s not a home is like a night without stars;
It waits for the day that life will come, bringing abundant joy, but until then;
A house that’s not a home is like bones without flesh;
The drawn out loneliness leaves the house in silence.
The floor boards crack, the wallpaper curls, and the banister splinters.
It stands for years on end at the corner of the street, until it is forgotten…
A house that’s not a home is like a shell without a crab;
It was once a home to someone;
A long time ago.
A house that’s not a home is like a memory long forgotten;
Thoughts from a Northern Airport
“No seriously, what's wrong?”
“I’m mad that I live in a house full of boxes.”
“It won't be like that forever, though.”
“But it's Christmas, and we don't even have a dining room table to eat off of.”
“And my parents won’t be home for another four hours.”
“I know, that sucks.”
“I don’t want to leave.”
“I don’t want to go home, I don’t want to sit in my big empty house alone!”
“You could stay, I don't want you to be alone either.”
“No. I don't want to do that to you, I don't want to intrude with your parents and stuff.”
“I’m sure it would be okay.”
“No, I doubt it. You have family coming over anyways. I'll leave.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes, don't worry about it.”
“I'll talk to you later. Okay?”
“Yeah, I know you will.”
“Bye, Merry Christmas.”
A Guide to Canada for the Desperate American
Hello my fellow Americans.
It has come to my attention that many of you are trying to make Canada your new home due to your most recent hot-mess of a presidential campaign.
While I congratulate you on your recognition of the reality of your grim situation, I must warn you, Canada is not all that it seems.
As a former American myself who has successfully converted to Canadianism, I feel that it is my civic duty to provide you with some tips and tricks on how to blend in as a Canadian in the great white north.
2. We LOVE maple syrup. A lot.
And I’m not talking about that Aunt Jemima bullcrap. According to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Canada made up 82% of the world’s total maple syrup industry in 2014. If your household does not spend at least 8% of its annual income on pure maple syrup, you’re doing something wrong. Our beloved maple syrup leaves its mark on virtually everything in this country, from our classic red-and-white maple leaf flag to our incredibly overly-priced gift shops. Which leads me to my next point…
3. Due to the fact that our dollar is currently down the poop-hole, everything here is much more expensive.
Now, maybe you as a fancy American with your “paper money” and “booming economy” will live your first year and a half here as a tourist, taking advantage of the fact that our economy really just sucks. However, once you start to rake in those measly Canadian loonies, you’ll soon learn the reason why Target left us, and why everyone hates Stephen Harper.
Feels like Home
A roar of laughter bursts from the deafening silence in the room. It spreads slowly, rumbling from one the person to the next. It starts as giggle, then a chuckle, then finally erupting into a cackle. There seems to be no reason for this laughter, we’re laughing for the sake of laughing.
In my heart grows a new feeling, one I’m not familiar with. It comes in fragments, scattered through distinct moments of my life. Like that afternoon where my breath was cut short from running so hard. We were chasing each other, pretending to be mad, but we both knew this anger was masking the throbbing love that was buried inside. We when stopped and looked at one another, this feeling came rising up, as if my body couldn’t contain it.
Or the time when the airplane landed, and the hot humid air hit my face instantly. The people and the sights and the smells and the culture; they all brought back forgotten memories from my childhood. The joy that erupted when we came face to face, the never ending gifts and generosity, I can’t deny that that feeling was there then too.
Getting this feeling is like being on a high that could last you a lifetime. It’s something I could never get tired of. It feels like the moment when the lights turn off at a concert you’ve been waiting to go to for your whole life. It feels like that time when you realised you found your best friend. It feels like the time you went to summer camp for the first time, and the memories made found their way into a special place in your heart. It feels like when a parent looks at you with genuine pride. It feels like love. It feels like happiness. It feels like home.
Life of Pug
Alright, human, what the fluff?
Three hours of sleep sure seems like enough!
You need to feed me, no time to delay
Come on human, we don’t have all day!
Finally, you’re up, so now you can feed me!
What are you talking about? “It’s only three.”
Three what? Squirrels? Chipmunks, where are they?
There’s a cat walking around, I’ll chase her away!
The human doesn’t want this food? He must be blind.
I’ll scarf it down fast, in case he changes his mind.
Now the human gets dressed, tries to stifle a yawn.
These socks that you have are the toys I chew on.
The human looks in the mirror, though I don’t know why,
My face is just so handsome, plus my googly-eyes.
Need I say more? Oh? The human’s leaving to “work”
But I know this joke, so I give a small smirk,
He pretends to leave, but just hides behind the door,
Then he’ll steal all my toys and leave them all over the floor.
Don’t worry, human, I won’t tell anyone where you’re at,
I’ll pull all the toys out for you, so that you won’t have to do that.
I can’t help that I’m good looking and smart too!
Pugs just have it all, I guess it’s nothing new.
Squirrel! I see you! You can’t hide from me.
I see you taunting me from there, up in that tree.
The back door is open, I’ve got you now,
I’m running toward you, look out and...ow!
I forgot that we had a window there,
But you know what, I don’t care.
The human comes in, I jump up and down.
Did you bring me food? Where did you go? I frown.
What was I thinking about before?
Was it about love? Peace? Ghosts? War?
All of a sudden I realize that my mind had begun to roam,
But I don’t care, ‘cause my human is finally home.
Home in the Moment
If a moment in time could be my home, I’d choose Christmas Eve of 2015. Where my grandma celebrates her anniversary with her late husband (rest in peace Papa Alex) and my step grandfather jealously tries to prove to his spirit that my grandma is dating HIM now. Where the children are trying to find a ouija board to contact him and tell him merry Christmas eve. Where the kidults (the ones who are in their teens but act like adults or the ones in their 20s who act like teens) discuss their theories as to why our Grandfather’s spirit decides to politely visit our parents but likes to freak us out. Though, none of us completely believe that his ghost is visiting them or us, but we play along anyway.
Once all the talk of our grandfather dies down, we play a game that gets too competitive. Where karaoke becomes a rap battle but the only thing you are roasting is the other person’s tone deafness. Who doesn’t want to listen to asian moms rap? Filipinos take karaoke very seriously even though most of us can’t sing, we just pretend we can.
Eventually things get too heated and the oldest generation has to convince the parents to apology to their kids and their kids to apologize to their parents.
I call this night my home because back then, we loved each other. Despite all the argument over who’s tone deaf and who’s the reason our grandfather is haunting us for shits and giggles (I’m ninety nine percent sure I’m the reason he's here, but I’m not going to tell anyone) we loved each other. At the end of the night, all arguments are settled, all problems resolved.
These nights, this family is gone. They’re not dead but things have changed and there’s no going back. My home will have to change but I’m hopeful that my new home will make me as happy as this one did.
Home is Where The Heart Is
There’s this song
that every time you play it
it brings a smile to your face
no matter what is happening in your life,
because once you click play for that song
it puts a pause on everything else.
And you think about how the sun
turns a certain shade of orange
before the sky fades to black.
And you just kinda get it, y’know?
You understand why people tell you to live your life
because it lets you remember all the beautiful things.
You learn to fall in love with every season,
because they all have something to offer.
So you look forward to seeing it every day,
and then you become happier
and you can enjoy the time you spend
with those you love
all the more.
Because it sets a more positive outlook
on your life and overall,
you feel so ~peaceful~.
There is a taut feeling in the back of your throat. You told yourself
you would not cry, but now it feels inevitable.
Her maroon crewneck is soft under your fingertips,
her hair, curly and auburn red, entwines around your fingers.
Your eyes sting, you dab at the wetness; it would be embarrassing
if not for the circumstances. Standing in the kitchen,
the dishwasher drones on and on as everyone says goodbye.
Her dog is barking from the other room; Poppy.
She’s going to miss that dog more than she’ll miss a lot of people.
There are sniffles around the circle, people gathered
to watch the two of you say goodbye. Everything is turned upside down
with her leaving; it’s as if the house should be askew,
but everything is where it should be.
The salt shaker is in the cupboard, the lemonade is in the fridge,
and there’s something in the oven; a sweet smell
coasts through the house. Her eyes are emeralds,
bright and watery under the dim kitchen lights as she looks up at you.
There’s a heaviness in the air, palpable
because of the summer heat, or the tension in the room-
you do not know.
There is a taut feeling in the back of your throat, one that even
crying does not seem to release. Crying seems embarrassing,
even under these circumstances. So,
you bury your face in her sweater,
even though you’re so much taller.
You savor the pressure of her arms around you,
for what might be the last time
in a very long time.
My home is an interesting place,
It's always changing
What it's made of and
Old homes melt away
In the form of memorial photos
To remember the past,
But the Present is special,
Not vibrant but calm,
A comfy chair, a candle,
A laptop with a box
Where my cat sits.
My home isnt just a place,
It's a feeling,
The security and love
I feel in my best friend's arms,
The feeling of beating them in a round of my favorite game
Where it doesn't matter because even if I lose,
I’d still have them.
For love and support
Is the greatest sign
That with them
I am home.
Home is sitting alone in the fourth last seat of a school bus on the left side planning when and what to say to my new co-workers, specifically the girl sitting behind me.
Home is staying up past midnight to look at stars and ponder our existence as we pray that no campers find us.
Home is dragging a twin sized comforter to the docks so we can tuck ourselves away from the harsh reality of parents who don’t notice their children are lost and wandering.
Home is meeting up in the kitchen and eating chocolate lucky charms for snack at eleven in the evening and teaching each other how to eat Mr. Noodles the proper way.
Home is a plot of land with cinder block cabins and a beautiful view of the sun setting behind an island that lives in its own separate world.
Home is taking the whiteboards from our lockers and drawing pictures of unicorns because at fourteen we didn’t know how to make good conversation.
Home is sticking with each other even as groups form around us and take shape making it up to us to push our way in and easier to leave ourselves open to being left out.
Home is writing murder mysteries with white gloves and butlers while arguing over whether to spell his name Victor or Viktor.
Home is running lines and dropping chips on a old dirty couch while listening to the original Psychopath's Anthem and googling sound effects for slamming a car trunk closed.
Home is a lobby covered in art we could only dream to have painted and a room on the top floor with tea in the office and boards plastered with ‘The Hot Guy’ and Kurt Vonnegut.
My Dad is My Home
The arms of my dad are what I call home.
Oh, I know he’ll always be there for me.
He comforts me when I feel so alone,
He’s there when sadness is all that I see.
When he spots me running down those old stairs,
I pull my suitcase quickly from behind.
And when I hug him then, I know that he cares.
We’ve been apart for so long, now I can unwind.
I sit in our old living room, thinking,
I miss seeing him each and everyday.
But when I hear him laugh again, smiling,
I don’t think I’d have things any other way.
My dad is my home, and Lethbridge is too,
And dad, when you read this, know I love you.
Our Old House
Six years back, a big house, both halves of my family, my cat, a home. Running down that staircase I’ve known for so long, counting the steps as I go, I had them memorized at some point, but I’ve forgotten them now. We had a huge lawn and a concrete porch where my melting popsicles dripped onto during the summer. There was a massive tree outside my bedroom, and at night I would find pictures and stories in the shapes of the branches swaying outside my window.
That home belongs to someone else now. It’s the place where they drop their keys on the table when they get home from a long day, it’s the place where their friends and family meet, where they read books next to the fireplace, it’s their home now, and I suppose the way I feel now is the way they feel about their old house, the way that the people who lived where I do now feel about this house, how most people feel about where they used to live, and it’s completely normal to miss home, but it still takes time to move on.
Thanks for reading!
Lots of love, Home Spotlight Team ♥