You Can’t Go

If you’re tuning in hoping to read about my trip to the UK, bad news; I’m writing entries ahead of time again, so you’ll have to wait… an indeterminate time, I guess…? (Just because I’m writing them ahead of time doesn’t mean they’re going to run in the order they were written; I’m not that linear, which is a fancy way of saying, “I’m bad at organization.”) That doesn’t mean that I’m not thinking about the trip, which is still a week away as I write, though. Specifically, I’m thinking about the prospect of going back to my childhood home for the first time in… what, 15 years or so?

To be clear, I’m not sure how much of my childhood home still exists, per se. My parents sold it when they were both alive, a handful of years after I’d moved to the US and my sisters had both moved out, and the last time I’ve even seen it — from a car as we drove past it, quickly — it looked as if the three-storey house had been split into two separate apartments with an external stairwell added to the side. It was a weird thing to see in passing, as if someone had drawn over a memory quickly and carelessly.

Since then, I’ve longed to go back and see what’s actually happened to the house. I’ve done the Google Earth thing, of course, but that’s not the same as actually being there. There’s something about the light of Scotland, a quality that feels different than the light in the US; I want to stand in front of the house in that light and… be there, whatever that actually means. I want to get as close as I can to the experience of going home that I felt every time I did it when I was in school.

If that’s even possible.

One Reply to “You Can’t Go”

  1. I recently walked past my childhood home (which is only a mile or so from where I now live, so I could go there every day if I wanted, but I very rarely do. Not that I don’t think about the place every day, and not that I have any negative emotional response to it, I just feel that it’s not where I belong these days, and part of me feels guilty saying that, as though I’m insulting a building), to see that the current owners were knocking down an internal wall and had stacked up the waste bricks outside.

    I grabbed a brick and took it home with me. I’m not quite sure why other than to say that I feel that a time will come at some point in my life when I WILL want to have something tangible of the home that my family and I lived in, something that gives me a little emotional nudge to remind me that many long-departed relatives had visited and enjoyed (and some been carried out of, drunk. I’m Scottish too, btw).

    It’s really only a brick over a hundred years old with equally old mortar attached. But if inanimate objects can somehow soak up the feelings around them (and I have read much stranger things in comics down the decades), then that brick has a million happy memories somewhere inside.

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