We’re moving house on Friday. Not far—less than half a mile away, still very close to Fecklet’s school—but far enough so that it will be a new neighbourhood, new shops, a new route to town.
We moved into this house in 1999. We spent the first year of our married life in a shared house, and then we lived in a rented basement flat, and then we bought this little house. We liked the fact that it was in a cul-de-sac. We liked the big corner bath. We liked the south-facing garden, and the streetlight outside, and the way that the house never, ever gets dark. We liked the big windows that open right out, all the way. We liked the school playing fields nearby, and the tree filled with birds at the end of the street. And despite the textured walls, the horrid carpets, the ugly curtains, the draughty bathroom, we liked that this house felt good. It felt friendly. It felt warm.
After we moved in, we discovered that we liked the neighbours, and the proximity to town and the local shops. We ripped up the horrible carpet and did our best to smooth the textured walls, though we never managed to get them very smooth. The spare bedroom was used as my husband’s work room, full of guitar parts and bits of electronics, and I set up my computer on the dining room table downstairs and began to write.
When I got published, the computer moved onto a proper desk, though still in the dining room. When our son was born, the front room became his, and my husband built himself a treasure trove of a shed in the garden.
Our son has moved from a moses basket to a cot to a toddler bed to the top bunk of bunk beds. He learned how to walk on these painted floors. He was conceived upstairs. We have sworn at our neighbours and turned to them in crisis. I have spent sleepless nights, typing, imagining. I have fallen asleep trusting this house and its doors to keep us safe. My husband has travelled the world and come back here. Home.
This house has memories and the weight of experience. We’ve been very happy here. We know the quirks and the noises. I’ll be sorry to say goodbye to it.
Except for the dust that’s been underneath our washing machine since 1999. That, I won’t miss at all.