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I often dream about going home.

I'm not homeless — not in the conventional sense, anyway. I live in a house with friends who have become a second family to me. I have a roof over my head and a bed to sleep in.

But I am not home.

I've thought about this a lot; twisting the idea around in my head. I will soon be leaving to (once again) stay with my family, but I don't think of that as home, either.

My home is a small own that actually isn't all that small. Where I live now, it is referred to as a city, but my hometown (which is called a town) is bigger than this "city".

The house I grew up in was not very pretty. There was no terrace or balcony. We didn't have a garden and the grass was always overgrown in the summer months.

But it's not the house I miss. It's the memories.

Surrounding that old house were woods. One might almost call it a forest, but I don't think it qualifies as one. Those large span of trees separated my house from the lake. We were never allowed there. People claimed it was private property but most people who lived there only did so in the summer.

It is, after all, Vacationland.

When I was younger, I used to go into the woods with my sister. My mom was a worrier and she used to scold us for doing it; warning us that we could get hurt or attract ticks.

But my sister and I, we were adventurers.

We used to play Indians in the woods, tromping through the trees and attempting makeshift spears to live off the land. In reality, that never happened. But in our minds, we were the lands' ruler.

Across the road from our house was the interstate. When walking down our long driveway, you met our road, which wasn't all that popular to traffic. But beyond our road were hills and beyond that, an ancient chain link fence that barred cars and pedestrians from meeting the interstate.

Farther down our road, maybe a quarter of a mile, were rocks. They were huge boulders that morphed out of the landscape. My sisters and I would routinely take our dog on walks down the road and look at the rocks. We usually tried to discover dinosaur fossils. We never did any digging (not having the tools or the know-how), but we always hoped that a full dinosaur skeleton would just appear on the rock face one day and we'd discover it.

I left that house (and those memories) almost three years ago. I headed north for school and my family headed west for a change of scenery. I have gone back to my hometown (and that house) a couple of times. About a year ago, when I was staying with a family friend, I took off in my little Escort and traveled down the familiar roads to my familiar house.

The house had changed since we'd left. A deck had been built and the house had been renovated. New tenants had moved in.

I realized then, with a pang in my heart, that the house was no longer my home. So, struggling to keep my tears at bay, I drove down the road and didn't return.

I have made several trips back to my hometown since that day — going to see friends, or driving down with my friends. But I won't go back to that house. It means nothing to me now.

When I was younger, my sister and I would occasionally set up a lemonade stand at the end of our driveway. We didn't get many customers because, as I said, our road didn't see a lot of traffic. But on one such day, a man on a bicycle stopped by. He asked if we lived there. I don't remember what we said in reply, but I do remember thinking it was an odd question. Why would two girls (ages around nine and ten) set up a lemonade stand in a stranger's driveway? The cyclist then told us that years before, maybe ten years, he used to live in that same house. He then bought some lemonade, drank it, and left.

We never saw him again.

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