I fear that unless I summon up and exert all of my will power I am in danger of becoming a stalker.
Not for me the telescope through my neighbour’s curtains to catch a glimpse of her camisoles (why go to that expense when I can see her knickers on the washing line every day? Note to self: probably better to edit that line out later). Not for me the surreptitious car chases or, coat collar up, following someone to and from their place of work on foot, hoping to catch a glimpse of a shady décolletage.
No. I’m stalking a house. A red cube of bricks and mortar.
I couldn’t resist walking by my grandparent’s house yesterday lunchtime. Although, of course, it is not really their house any longer. A new car had parked itself on the drive. Dark green. Unkempt looking. With horribly filthy hubcaps. My grandfather would never have allowed that.
It hurt. This I freely admit. It hurt seeing signs of other lives going about their business inside those walls. It hurt realizing that I can no longer go inside a house where I was, without fail, always, always welcome. I found myself craning my neck to see through the net curtains (still my Nan’s), noting that no furniture had yet been moved inside, that the bird muck on the patio windows was still there and visible via the light bleeding through from the back garden.
I did two walk-bys feeling furtive and fugitive. I caught a glimpse of the back garden fence – the boundary that, when blowing bubbles as kids, my sisters and I would delight in sending our little soapy missives over. Amongst the hundreds of photos rescued from my Nan’s possessions is one of me in a yellow romper suit, barely 12 months old, being held by my Nan on the back lawn.
I have stood on that very spot a few times in the lead up to the sale of the house marvelling sadly at how fast, how coldly time seems to fly by.
I’m steeling myself to stay away for a while. To try and come to terms with it all emotionally – and I am sorry to be going on about it yet again here (how boring for you all) but I am shocked at how difficult I am finding this new reality.
It feels wrong. For as long as I have been alive that house has been my Nan’s. I’m pretty sure they were the first people to move into it and in my mind it is forever associated with her and my granddad. It feels like a huge chunk has been bitten out of the world. Or I suppose a better analogy is that of an amputated limb. I know it’s not there anymore but I can still feel it.
In a bizarre kind of way I feel suddenly shut out of my childhood.
The one positive from all this emotional upheaval is the sheer number of memories that have come flooding back to me. Helped along by the mass scanning project I have now begun to back-up all my Nan’s old photographs, I have remembered things I had completely forgotten I remembered (if you see what I mean). I will no doubt record some of them here over the coming months to save them from falling into the abyss of my mind once more.
In the meantime, please bear with me people. I’m going to put my binoculars away. I’m going to shred my little notepad of comings and goings. Normal service will be resumed shortly.