In the family home, there is no beginning, middle and end.
There is neither the calm, nor the storm.
There is nothing called before what more an after.
There is no chronology, order or structure.
The past and present are entangled, meshed and woven together inexplicably.
Emotions are most palpable; heavy, haywire and so damn overwhelming.
In the family home, secrets… They make and break, appearing and disappearing as they please.
I hesitate to write because truthfully, I don’t know myself, where my writing will take me.
Is it towards acceptance, resignation or simply the inevitable, as it’s always been? Is there an end in sight, truly? What changes even if there is, if it takes place?
It’s always been this way. It’s always the same set of questions with no answers.
The past, present and future will always collide. Individuals with histories and emotional scars will forever be stagnant in their respective moments – the one that breaks the camel’s back; everyone has scars. In the family home, secrets are kept, preserved, nurtured and… permanent. Childhood to girl- or boyhood to the adulthood years – it is the bearer, keeper and witness.
In the family home, the air is thick with multitude of emotions; saturated. It’s laden with anger, frustration, regret, happiness and resilience.
There are lots of sleeping dogs, fallen demons, unresolved conflicts and hardened souls.
The family home is large – it houses six bedrooms, a library, two living rooms, a makeshift garage, a garden and the kitchen. The house sits stubbornly facing the main road, peak traffic a daily woe. The owner of each bedroom has switched so many times in recent year, consequence of time. One after another, life events take place – marriages, first house purchases, children, dreams abroad and professional commitments. Slowly, exits become more frequent, (re)entrances but a few.
Just as the house is now weighed by the added years – she too, the sole caretaker.
The garden is now an abandoned, an unkempt outdoor space.
It isn’t all bad, not always. But when it is… Shit hits the fan, the roof – everything, or so it feels like – just as it did today. It is reminiscent of so many days in the past; hardly a surprise but always so, so emotionally wrenching.
It’s funny, so ironic – in the years I were away, those periods in which I live a life so different than this only other one I know, the pangs and longing I feel for the family home never dwindle. Instead, they keep escalating that as the years add up, these feelings, as if locked in time, fill to the brim. As humans we are stagnant against the dynamic time and absence tends to play tricks to the beholder.
Reality is a friend in disguise, cunning and persistent.
In the family home, it matters not how far the occupants have tread the world or how high the achievements or even, how expensive the material wealth may flow – the family home recognizes none of these. The family home is a time capsule, bearer of countless confrontations, whispered conversations, hushed silences, raised tensions and at the core: broken, emotionally scarred individuals.
Keep calm and carry on.
The years have been kind, but the aftermath is different for each occupant – some have learned to forgive, others have simply accepted and moved on and a select few, unfortunately, purposefully and adamantly choose to reject. As our own lives take flight, those years… Do they, could they, ever truly disappear?
In the family home, the furnitures stay in the same positions that they have been for years… Items, trinkets and personal treasures from the past too, continue to collect dust at every nook and cranny. Static, locked away in specific spaces in time. It’s like nothing ever changes; the outside world ceases to exist and the years gone by, insignificant as ever.
The young woman I am now and the girl I were, they’re so vastly different, an entire world’s worth of difference and yet in the family home, I am always the youngest, the stabilizer, the smarty-pants, the mini-mum, the bossy one, the… observer, listener, witness, and the circumstantial emotional cipher. The alternate lives, despite how grand or defining, are never discussed out loud. In the family home, it’s a given to easily slide right back into the expected, default roles; the always has been. The family home is stubbornly static and stagnant, for ever and ever and ever.
Today has been an incredibly long day.