It's What You Called Home

It’s the family legend of the night you peed in your bag of Lego while sleepwalking.

It’s the night your dad came up to check if you were asleep to find you and your sister covered in blue chalk and delirious with laughter. It’s the eight kids packed into a Ford Cortina estate on a spring’s night journey to go trampolining for your birthday.

It’s that time you sank in the marsh behind your house up to your waist crying out until grown ups rescued you. Or the time you stood at the top of the roots of an upturned tree in the field behind your house and got surrounded by hungry cows.

It’s the elephant tree. Or the tree by the layby where you climbed higher than ever before or since. Or the tree behind your house where you climbed on a wet night and fell - you didn’t tell your mum about that.

It’s kids from school reading your Beano before you did as they waited for piano lessons from your mum. It’s kids you knew getting piano lessons from your mum. It’s the brothers and sisters of kids you knew getting piano lessons from your mum when one of your Christmas decorations caught fire as you watched Family Ness.

It’s playing football in the park for 5 hours without bringing any water. It’s ‘turn around touch the ground I’m not getting it’ after a wild shot.  

It’s spilling a boiling hot cup of tea on your… you know, and having to sit with a cold sponge on your groin all day.

It’s trips down to Peebles to swim and asking your dad to put the foot fans on hot on the drive back while you chewed a Wham bar. It’s dad standing behind the post most games when you played in goals from the cubs or the local boys club. It’s your dad smoking his pipe on the touchline for all your home rugby games years later.

It’s the day you came home from school and your mum didn’t live there any more. It has to be that too because there’s always pain there. It’s your sister leaving for university a few years later but you not leaving for university a few years after that. It’s regret.

It’s hearing the thump of your dad’s foot on the floor upstairs when he played folk music or the reassuring thump of his hand on the arm of his chair downstairs when the TV made him laugh.

It’s the place your friends slagged off for being scaffy. But it’s you, wrapped in blankets, leaning against your godmother in the back garden doing join the dots puzzles.

It’s your root of neurosis and strength. It’s what you wish you could change sometimes. But sometimes you wouldn’t change it for the world.