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Back to the room - shadows of echoes of memories of songs — LiveJournal
Back to the room

Back in the parental home for one night, before visiting grandparents tomorrow. Every time I come back here, something else has changed -- there's a patio where the scrubby tree and the anomalous fritillary were; the old fire has been replaced with a neat black stove; the TV is on a modern glass corner-table instead of strange 80s built-in units; there's a shiny double bed in what was my room -- and still is my room, in parts, but with fewer and fewer of my things each time I come and go. And every time I come back, I'm a little bit different, too; thinking different things, having been to different places, knowing things I didn't know before. (Knowing things I wish I'd known then; knowing things I wish I didn't know now.) Each time I walk in and out of this place I wear away the carpet a little bit more, and one day they'll get a new carpet, but by the time it has to go, you're ready to see the back of it. Bit by bit the cells of my body will die and be replaced, leaving the dust of dead skin in a layer throughout the house; and bit by bit I'll wear the house away, taking things and leaving things, ebb and flow, flotsam and jetsam, wearing it all away like the water wears the stone.

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Current Location: United Kingdom, England, Leicestershire

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hairyears From: hairyears Date: November 12th, 2008 03:06 am (UTC) (Link)

We need a better word than mere 'forgetting'

I did it to myself: I took the posters down, took away the things I valued and felt emotional attachments to; crossed the threshold when I left for Oxford and decided that, whatever happened and whenever I returned, this is a place that I have left and all that I retain of it is in this suitcase.

And so it was. Nine weeks later I came back, my first term over, knowing that the boy who left this dismal Midland city had grown out of it. This town, this poky little terraced house, the old possessions in it, all the things I used to do there; all of them a place that I was forced to stay in - a place I'm from, but never of it.

I came back as a stranger and forever afterwards was greeted in the house as such. Perhaps familiarity had blinded me to something: what if I had always been?

Not home, not me, not ever.

So no, the steady tide of redecoration and replacement of the furniture was never an erosion of my childhood; that house and all the things therein were memories I'd chosen, on that day, to leave behind me as I crossed the threshold. Some things I took with me later; many things I chose to leave and learned, with indifference or mild relief, that they had been disposed of.

Whatever junk was in it when my mother died, and my sister deemed to be my property, is packed in boxes that remain unopened two years since they came to me. They are not my youth, they are archaeology, the artifacts of strangers; whatever memories they hold, they are not me and they are most certainly not the mementoes of my youth - I never had one or, at least, whatever it is we hope to do in those long years was taken from me.

It's only now, in five brief years, that a slender thread of friendship strengthened and became the warm and beautifully human fabric that I find myself expanding into, growing up into, a man whose friends and lovers never saw that house and anything of me that happened in it, and surely never will.

I think of it as cleaning rather than removal.

addedentry From: addedentry Date: November 12th, 2008 09:10 am (UTC) (Link)

I Remember, I Remember

'Was that,' my friend smiled, 'where you "have your roots"?'
No, only where my childhood was unspent,
I wanted to retort, just where I started ...
lnr From: lnr Date: November 12th, 2008 10:39 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: We need a better word than mere 'forgetting'

That sounds so sad to me. I moved all my things from my parents house when I moved to Cambridge, and they've moved house since then. Occasionally something of mine will turn up, but very rarely now. And yet I feel like I'm going home when I visit my family in a house I've never even lived in, and which contains none of my belongings. Perhaps because it contains the people I love.
monkeyhands From: monkeyhands Date: November 12th, 2008 10:49 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: We need a better word than mere 'forgetting'

Yes, and to me. I guess I'm in a different situation because when I was growing up it felt like the house was constantly being redecorated and generally knocked about. When we weren't having any work done on the house, my mum would move the furniture around or rearrange the contents of the cupboards.

Now my mum and dad have moved house to a new place that they're really happy with, so there's a lot less decorating and moving things about. Partly because of that, I feel really calm and "at home" when I visit.
monkeyhands From: monkeyhands Date: November 12th, 2008 10:17 am (UTC) (Link)
I've been thinking about all this a lot lately, what with my own decluttering and the rash of zombie films in the cinema. I've realised that there's a really strong link between possessions and death. Zombies are about consumption and blind acquisition; hoarded goods are a kind of memorial and a kind of burial. I'm still trying to sort it all out in my mind.
brightybot From: brightybot Date: November 12th, 2008 12:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
Even now, people still ask me if I'm going 'home' for Christmas, by which they mean my parents' house, not knowing I haven't had parents for over 10 years. It makes me wistful to read this, because I've never had that slow process of moving away, of finding bits of my old self I'd forgotten and buried in a drawer. Instead there was just 2 days of clearing a house, making snap decisions about which little trinkets I wanted to keep, and then 'home' was always wherever I lived at the time, and nowhere else.
thegreenman From: thegreenman Date: November 13th, 2008 08:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
They demolished my last house a year after I moved. Now there are memories in my head which no longer have a phsical connection with the place that formed them
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