As I push open the gate, a dragging, ominous creak rends the air. It’s music to my ears. I have listened to it countless times in glee when I was little. Guests always meant an escape from my mom’s scrutiny during studies! But if I hear the sound (not noise) around 6 pm, it meant that my dad’s home from work. I would rush to him to give snippets of the day’s happenings. 

The red-bricked exterior of my home exudes the warmth inside. Though I detest any form of greenery, the lawn and the inumerous plants flourishing in my mom’s garden signals that I’m home. I ring the doorbell and peer in through the window till someone approaches.

As I step inside, a tumble of aromas tantalise my senses and my brain goes into a frenzy. I walk straight to the kitchen to investigate. Whatever it is, no matter what meal it’s for, I would have a helping of it then and there. I love to have mom’s curries as soon as it’s made, though she probably meant it for a later meal. If she doesn’t let me have it, I help myself when she is on the phone because she can’t do anything about it but glare at me! 

Today my mom obliges and I take a generous helping. My brother follows the suit and we settle in front of the television with our saucers. We check the movies playing and finally agree on a channel. As we dig in, our cat, Toffee, demurely walks in and lies near us, purring loudly. She sneaks a peek at our saucers frequently and patiently waits. 

Over the sounds from the television, I can hear my parents discuss something animatedly, from the next room. As if on cue, my brother’s laughter fills the air. Toffee’s still purring. There was perfect harmony in their sounds. 

There’s no place like home.