we used to move houses a lot.
the first time i remember moving i was four. i didn’t want to leave that house. “mummy, can i take my clown curtains?” i loved those curtains. i thought that house was a palace. i thought i had a massive room with a huge yard. i drove past it the other week…it wasn’t a palace at all, just a modest house on a small block of land with neighbouring houses too close.
the next house we moved into properly was bigger. i was bigger too. it was on a little bit of land with a driveway i thought was so long. i had the big bedroom with the mirrored wardrobe. my brothers and i used to build forts at the bottom of the driveway, out of pine needles. we’d hide behind it and throw pine cones across the road and into the park. we had a tennis court there, too. i always thought it was the real size. but, it was a half court. it just seemed so big.
after i turned ten, we moved again. to the last home i really ever had. i remember it was after i was ten because i didn’t get to have my birthday party there. we moved to a farm. a small farm, 60 acres. we started with six cows. that grew to sixty. a few chickens turned into 100 geese that my brother bought for a dollar each. we had two emus at one stage. a few turkeys, too. some sheep, peacocks and an old horse named star who thought he was a cow. i bought a cow, a hereford, i called her daisy. she had a calf who i named mask who was black all over except for her beautiful white face. mask.
i loved that house.
i used to walk to the dam, sit on the jetty and write. or sometimes just sit and listen.
i miss that house.
the serenity, peace, stillness, the fresh sting of the air. it was half an hour from the city. but, at night you could see all the stars. the city didn’t blind us from them.
i started thinking about that house today. when i left, i left from that house. when i came back two and a half years later, it was sold. i became a nomad. i felt homeless and lost somehow. i felt i didn’t have a place. so, when i thought about that house today, i thought about it with a longing for it. for that feeling. the safety, comfort, familiarity, that only a true home can give. i took it for granted. i didn’t appreciate the place for what it was. and now i’m left longing.
they say home is where the heart is. in some ways, that is true. but i left my heart in houghton. i left my heart with that home.
so, as i start to travel the world, i’ll look for somewhere that drags that feeling from me. like a magnet. somewhere with a pull so strong, i can’t resist. that longing is a space in me i need to fill. something’s missing.
we used to move houses a lot. i became used to it. saying goodbye to houses wasn’t like saying goodbye to family or friends. but this one was different. this one still grabs me. i never had the chance to say a proper goodbye. i never had the chance to create another home for myself. with all those feelings that would fill me up.
i miss that home.