I'm spending so much time in my childhood house these days as I care for mum, that it has that old familiar feel. I'm not the random visitor of that last 20 years, leaving my breath on the window pane on my way out. Instead, I leave my imprint in the bed, my things accumulating in bedside drawers and wardrobes once again.
As my mum lies in her dining-room-converted bedroom, I wander the rooms of my adolescence and remember the memories. Fights, laughs, chats. The front door opening and closing a thousand times as I went to and from school. The hours I spent standing in the hallway talking on the phone to friends and shy first boyfriends. The whispers my bedroom walls heard as I revised for exams, wrote secrets in my diary, gazed beyond my horizon and imagined my life ahead. Hours spent beside my mum, licking baking bowl spoons in the kitchen, sitting beside her on the sofa learning the lessons of my life.
These walls housed many family sagas before our own. When we moved here I wandered about then, touchng the walls and trying to listen to the whispers of other people's stories. Now I sit with my mum and go through old photos.... black and white characters no longer filled with the colour of life. Long lives, long lived, but over now. Now they are the ageless faces in aged albums. Like the people who once lived in this house.
And as our family sage comes slowly slowly to an end, I cannot help but wonder who will live here next. What fights, laughter, chats, hopes, dreams, heartache, pain, love will fill these walls. But for now, we must still fill this hosue with the noise of our family. Until those memories too drain of colour.
Replaced in brick, but never in hearts.