The boxes aren’t all unpacked yet, but ‘home’ has always been a state of mind for a family who move between houses yearly, who wave each other off at train stations and can only steal each others clothes from suitcases.
All those car journeys sat on duvets with pans blocking the rear-view mirror, the alarmed phonecalls about inventories and lost bracelets and landlords. All leading us to this house. To this sofa (from the last place) under these blankets (from the place before that) with these books (new) resting on that coffee table (from the first place). Photos of graduations line the bookshelf now, by the one of toothless grins.
This is my family. We have been a family for so long. Us, five years this weekend. You, eleven years this November. Them, fifty odd years in August. We’ve swelled, bringing in people to call our own, and someday we might even make one of those additions from scratch. I don’t bring up the thought because I know it will get your mind whirring, of course. So we sit. Bickering and laughing and cajoling and in a new house, one finally big enough to fit us all in, just in time for each of us to fly the nest.
I’m looking for a home myself. Starting a faction of the family elsewhere, to reunite in at Christmasses and to gather our own memories into. It’s far, but not the furthest away we’ve been. It’s more permanent, with no term time tenancies to break the absences. I want to grow it like you grew ours, even when they were temporary. To fill it with playful shadows and the smell of soft frying onion and garlic, to fill with noise and all the clutter of a day.
I want to do all of this, and then I want to bundle a toothbrush and some jumpers into a handbag and get the train back to yours. Back home. Wherever you want to put it.