A semi regular blog, covering everything but politics, hopefully.
|You can never go home.
Someone, somewhere in a movie said that, but it was a throwaway line after a big explosion and it never really meant anything. If it did, I never got it.
Until about two weeks ago, that is.
My parents built a small cream brick house close to the Goulburn River, when they got married in the late 60's, and they lived there for many years. I grew up there, in that small cream brick house, working around the paddocks with my father or riding my bike down around the state forest along the river with the best dog to ever live. You could say it was a pretty good childhood.
Those days are long gone. My parent's health declined as they got older, and my mum, who had heart problems soon became full time carer for my dad, who was suffering from dementia. I would go home on my days off, so that she could have a break and some rest.
I would walk in the back door, just as I always had, pat the dog, just as I always had, help myself to food from their cupboards, just as I always had. Then I would finally announce my arrival, just as I always had. But it was not as it had always been. I was no longer the youngest child in the house, I was now a grown man, and my relationship with my parents had changed accordingly.
When my mum passed away several years later, I moved back into the old house. Now I was the sole breadwinner of a small family, with the same pressures my father must have felt when I was a child. Though I knew every inch of this old house, every dark nook, and cobwebbed cranny better than I knew the back of my own hand, it was not the same house I had lived in as a child. It was simply not the same.
But even today, several years after my sister and I sold the old house, my activities have me driving past the place at least once a week as I visit a life-long friend who lives nearby.
Every time, I drive past, I glance out the window. The little cream brick house looks even smaller now, dwarfed by the white cedar tree, grown out of control in the front yard, which the new tenants have strewn with ornaments and kids toys.
A couple of weeks ago, I drove past, resisting the temptation to flick the wheel to the left and park in the sloping driveway and without warning, I realised that I would never set foot in the place ever again. This realisation was accompanied by a pang of disappointment so intense that it knocked me breathless, even as I steered my car around the sweeping bend in the road.
A further thought, like the twist of a blade in ones belly, came unbidden to my mind. So much had changed that every time I walked in unannounced, I was not going home. That was long gone. I was simply walking into the house I grew up in, or the house my parents owned.
By the time I pulled up at my mate house a minute or two later, I finally understood that stupid throwaway line "You can never go home", though in retrospect, I suspect I always did.