In the evenings — it’s now early October — I often walk to Sky Hill to watch the late light gild the trees and slowly leave the trees, to see a low layer of clouds turn hazy pink then take on lavender, to watch trees breathe in the darkness until it’s their silhouettes only that press against the deepening blue sky. This ritual I’ve come to love.

I also watch the people on Sky Hill. One father and daughter come several times a week, always with their dog, his coat a blurry mix of black and white. The little girl’s white blonde hair is usually caught back with a ribbon or sometimes braided. She’s only three or so, likes to squeal, and has a lopsided way of walking and running, as if she never knows exactly where she’s headed. Sometimes she takes a tumble going downhill as she runs after her dog or other dogs or, sometimes, another child.

Eventually, as darkness cloaks her tiny figure, her daddy calls out to her. “Lucia, time to go home.”

Lu-chee-a. It sounds Italian. It’s a beautiful sound. It’s almost a song. “Lucia, time to go home.”

Time to go home. Four sweet words. She runs up to him. The dog does, too. The daddy bends over, puts leash on dog, then takes Lucia’s hand, and all three stroll back to their car, back to their home, where mama certainly is expecting them.

I get up from my bench. Time for me to go, too . . . but home? I head back to a place that no longer feels like home.

Maybe Ernie and I never really had a home, not even the stucco cottage . . . because when one isn’t comfortable in the home within oneself, one is never comfortable outside oneself.

I’m on a search for home.



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My writer husband’s favorite nickname for me was Ernestina, so in this 3-book memoir, he is Ernie. This is his story, our story, and my story. I invite you in.