Every last night here is always tinged with melancholy. When I think that tomorrow no one will light candles in the living room, no one will watch the sun complete its daily journey through the rooms, I feel so much sadness well up inside me. If a genie popped out of the spout as I rubbed my great-grandmother’s copper kettle and granted me three wishes I would wish for:
My father to get better
To spend more time in this house
I’ve searched all my adult life for a place to call home. A place I have a connection to, a place I miss when I cannot be there and where I can feel like myself. In my thirty-nine years, my parents have had ten homes. Thirteen if you count holiday homes and the year we lived with my grandparents. The only place I was ever sad to say goodbye to was my grandparents’ apartment. The day I walked out of there for the last time I cried, because I was shutting a door on a wealth of happy childhood memories. This house is the closest I’ve come to a real home of my own. A real home. Not just somewhere I live.
Much as I love it, I am not ready to come and live here permanently. For one thing, there are no jobs on this island and no private schools. Even if there were, I’m not ready to say goodbye to the city I waited so long to live in. I’m not ready to leave my view of the harbour, the small cafés hidden away in tiny streets. But I know that for the next few nights I will be sad as I think of my empty house. I’ll wonder if it’s lonely, if it misses the sound of running feet and the smell of freshly baked muffins. Come spring I will sit in the courtyard reading book after book, dunking cookies in my coffee.
Tonight I will light some candles and curl up with a book one last time. I will breathe deeply and think about how to make the life I have more like the life I want. And, most importantly, which books I am going to take home with me this time.
It’s like that for many of us, isn’t it? The life we have on holiday is the one we wish we could have every day. Freedom to decide what to do and when. No clock to follow, no agenda but our own. Free to pursue our own dreams, not help someone else achieve theirs.
Seems like a long way off.
Maybe I should buy a lottery ticket.