a family that counts together stays together
home is where the __________ is.

i waited while everybody slowly gathered up their stowed items, streched their legs, and climbed off the plane. it was one am for me, since i was still on californian time. the gate areas felt cold and empty, devoid of people to greet us since last september. ticketed passengers only, not enough eyeballs for the backlit advertisements to grab.

we all followed the signs and arrows through miles of logan, (ugly and inefficient compared to LAX), hoping to find the luggage claim area. cracks floors and dirty dirty lighting. i hugged my father hello and i waited for my bag and i chatted with dad, i called my apartment to tell them i made it okay, called cat to thank her for the lift down the 405, early that west coast morning.

i did not remember the mbta looking so unkempt; the passengers so disappointed, bored and internalized; the subway and the city so fucking hot. it was the shuttle to the blue line to the orange to the red, and by the time we sweat stumbled to my dad's black camry on the fourth floor of the quincy adams parking structure, i'd nearly forgotten where i was going, where i had been. my father is nearly always the conversational and geographical chauffeur for visits home, the segue down towards the suburbs. we did not turn on the radio.

he described recent events, asked about plans. i had been away from the house where i grew up for a full for months. it was the longest time i had ever been away from this lawn, this building, and these people. four months is not a long time. it was nearly midnight, now, massachusetts time, but the house sat brightly lit in its usual spot. mom had waited up, of course. hellos were kissed and jokes were told. our kitchen had a new refrigerator. our mantlepiece had a new family portrait, taken last summer on cape cod. and my bedroom looked very much the same.