I am tucked under her chin, with my knees up and my hands balled around the fabric of her. Her arm is around me, stroking me to soothe the lurching caused by my tired sobs. My ear is pressed to her chest, and the lubdub of her heartbeat is filling me.
“Can home be a sound,” I whisper, “or does it have to be a place?”
“I think home can be anything you want it to be,” T responds, “it can be a sound if you want.”
“Your heartbeat is my home.”
She laughs, and squeezes me tighter, until – even if just for that moment – the world is me and her. Just me, her, and the rhythm of her heart.
“This isn’t fair,” I cry. “It wasn’t fair that it happened and it isn’t fair that we are left dealing with the aftermath.”
She nods. “It’s not fair,” she echoes, “and you are hurting because you’re finally feeling all of the pain that was there from those earliest days. You’re wanting to make yourself small and hide under my rib cage because that’s what you so badly wanted as that tiny child, but we cannot change that. We cannot change what happened to you. But we can heal it, and eventually this pain will ease. It won’t be overnight, but one day you will look back and see how far you’ve come. You’ve come so far already. But no, it’s not fair.”
She tells me there are a few minutes to go. I hide into her and she squeezes me tighter. Tells me she will be here next week, she won’t forget, and all those other words I need to hear a million times. And I try to believe her, because she carries my home inside her.