My mum’s house will soon be on the market. My family home. The house we moved into in 1980, when I was 3. A house built on clay and memories.
This is the hardest part so far.
And my thoughts are becoming more and more consumed with these pictures from the past. Reruns played over and over; stop – rewind – play, stop – rewind – play.
My 3 yr old self, raw from the recent divorce, padding in to my mother’s room and standing by the side of the bed, head bowed, eyes on my feet. “Can I come in?” whispered with an eager heart. Climbing in sheepishly next to her and lying bum to bum, warmth so familiar, so reassuring.
A young child returning early from a school trip with swollen eyes, weepy from fresh cut grass. Childish excitement deflated like a limp balloon. And my mother laying me gently on the bed in my childhood room, and tending my eyes lovingly with damp flannels.
My rebellious, secretive teenage self lying prone in the early hours of the morning, wide-eyed from narcotic experimentation, lamenting the worms that still wriggle from the carpet. Watching guiltily as my mother pads around excitedly, preparing for her youngest’s birthday.
My young adult self, suffering from my first and worst bout of depression and lying in a bath that my mother has run. Her sitting patiently on the toilet as she reads to me from Alison in Wonderland, hoping that the words will comfort with the innocenct simplicity of childhood.
My recently married self – foolishly but deliriously drunk and lying on the grass with my new husband, sister and brother-in-law, like starfish watching a flight of swallows in glorious fomation soaring back and forth across the sky.
And my mum, in every room – laughing, reassuring, scolding. Kind, proud, determined. Her music, her cooking, her love.
And somehow I have to say goodbye to all this. Let someone else strip out the worn, dated kitchen – my mother’s kitchen – to replace it with stylish, cold granite. Flush away all of my family memories and reinvent their own. And I want to scream and barricade the doors and picket at the fence. No entry here. But Mr Cameron is eager for his pound of gold, and the clock is ticking.