You can’t go home again
Yesterday, after a rather protracted move, we finally closed the door on our old flat, home for the past four and a half years. Seeing it empty, it was clearer than ever that we’d made the right decision to leave. The rattling windows letting in the sounds and the dirt from the main road outside. The peeling wallpaper. The localised damp. The old kitchen units, about to fall apart. While all these were minor issues, they all added up, especially when you have a letting agent and landlord with no interest in remedying any of it.
And yet. It was our home. Our first home together. The place where we’d got married from and returned to after our honeymoon. The place that was our refuge from all the rubbish and frustration and problems of the world. The place where we’d hatched plans and started dreams, right up to our plan and dream to find a new home. The place that we had made ours.
While it is a little embarrassing to say so (especially when I now know a handful of people I know in real life actually read this stuff, which is an odd sensation and perhaps another subject for another time) I felt absolutely crushed. Our flat had its faults, but was wonderful in many other ways. It was pretty big. It was in a great location. And most importantly, it housed so many memories. I was kind of saying goodbye to a small chapter of my life, as corny as that sounds, and I am well aware that I am a sentimental old fool.
But I do know that when we closed the door that final time we weren’t closing the door on those memories. They are still there and still make me smile. Although we are moving a little further out of London, we’re still close enough to visit our old hometown pretty regularly and rekindle those memories. Close enough to wander past the old place every now and then and thank it for being so much more than a roof over our heads. I know it is probably odd to give anthropomorphise bricks and mortar, but doesn’t everywhere have some sort of character?
But we now have a new house, one that we can genuinely call our own, and one that over time we can really make our own. We are no longer at the mercy of letting agents and landlords. And I’m sure the new place will be the home for all manner of new and amazing memories. And no doubt at some point in the future we’ll find ourselves leaving this new place and I’ll be in pieces again, before heading to another new home and another new set of memories etc etc etc.
So, now in the new place we have conquered bad wiring, rotten floors, several possibly poisonous materials and the juggling of multiple tradesmen we’re on to the less dramatic, but hopefully more fun, challenges of decorating and unpacking. Our new house will be a palace. Someday, anyway. And in the meantime, we’re going to have a great time making new memories. It is already starting to feel like home.