My parents sent me a very strange link this week. It’s a real estate listing for our old family house.
My parents bought the house when they were first married and lived in it until they moved to Adelaide about six years ago. I was born in Royal Darwin Hospital and from the time my parents bought me home to the time I set off for university some eighteen and a half years later, 22 Kailis St was the centre of the known universe, at least as far as I was concerned. I knew every corner of the garden and was partially responsible for the destruction of a decent portion of it. I knew where to sit after school so as not to let the glare from the afternoon sun disrupt my view of the television. As I got older I learned which step not to tread on when I was coming home late because it went “clunk” and woke up the whole house (I later learned that my mother would lie awake at night waiting for the clunk so she’d know I was home safe). I also knew how close I could get to the motion sensitive light before it would go off, and how fast I could get away with moving once I was in range. I could get up in the morning, walk from my bed to the lounge room, pull out the stool, plug in the headphones and start piano practice without necessarily having to open my eyes first.
I can still remember the incomparable feeling of dislocation I felt the night my parents told me over the phone that they were selling the house and moving to South Australia. I was in my room at St. John's College in Brisbane, amongst close friends I had known for three and a half years by that stage, and yet I suddenly felt completely adrift. An image of Morpheus watching the destruction of the Nebuchadnezzar comes to mind. Thank God my friends, possibly in response to the far away look in my eyes, had the sense to declare an emergency late night pancake run.
There is something frighteningly powerful about the fact that, since that night almost six years ago, I haven’t held any one residential address for more than a year. Even now that I’m back “home” in Darwin, I’ve still managed three separate addresses in eighteen months.
It would be a fantastic story of coming full circle if I could walk into the real estate agent’s office tomorrow and put down an offer too good to refuse. Unfortunately there’s the small matter of “offers of five hundred and seventy thousand dollars or more” to contend with. I’ve done the maths on the bank website's loan calculation wizards. In my current financial situation I could get pre-approval for a home loan of just over eighty thousand, which might buy me half a parking space in Mandorah.
Besides, the current owners have completely remodelled the interior. It looks amazing, but nothing like what I remember, possibly due to most of the walls being missing. They’ve repaved the driveway, added air-conditioning, laid down polished floorboards instead of carpet and changed all the window fittings and … just about everything else. So it wouldn’t really be like living in my old home again. Those days are irrevocably gone. Plus, as my friend pointed out, while I could be the owner of the house, I wouldn’t actually be able to move into the master bedroom, because that’s my parents’ room. That would just be too weird.
No. I’ll just watch with interest to see how the sale goes, and then go back to walking along the street every so often and remembering one of the best upbringings a boy could have. And then I'll reach the end of the street and turn once again towards either the future or Tracy Village Sports Club, depending on whether we’re being literal or whimsical. And, as the great man once said:
“The future hasn’t been written yet. So make it a good one. Both of you.”
Garry with 2 Rs