Two years ago, we stepped across a road, no, I lie, it was five roads with significant distance in-between, but ‘one’ captures the greater spirit so much better. Namely because it was the step, not necessarily in an entirely new direction, but away. Crossing the pavement crystallised my memories into just that: memories. A thing of the past.
I don’t even know if our sweet little lilac, right in the corner of the garden, still blooms in summer. At times, I wake up in my bed, the same squeaky loft bed as before, and for a split second I feel that if I walked down I would stand in my small rosy old room. And it fills me with warmth, with mellow longing. Homesick nostalgia.
At once it is dreadfully, dreadfully, far away and only yesterday. In my mind’s eye, I could turn and be seated with my siblings by our kitchen table. With morning sun beaming through the windows, illuminating tiny tangoing dust particles. If it was a weekend we would be reading manga paperbacks from the local library, to the sound of the ever-present great tit birdsong. Chewing on cereal with chocolatey Oboy-powdered milk. We used to trade places around the table because we all wanted to sit next to mum. My sister hated the noise of our chewing. We were a ‘we’; all four of us.
The air was that of an encapsulation of childhood. Even as childhood escaped us. It was in the very walls, yes, in the subtle yellow paint of the living room. Where I stamped a red thumb-sized Hello Kitty image once. It remained there, with its unfailing upbeat smile, until we left.
Now I am sitting here, typing, soaked in the mist of glue-sticky fingers and mum’s raisin bread. Humming a tune of subconscious remembrance (it’s a Star Wars soundtrack motif and sends me on a tangent; to my brother’s formidable Lego fantasia and to us nestled in front of the saga or playing the, excellent, Lego computer game). And I don’t wish to turn back time. But there’s an abyss of sadness in me because I can’t.