parting with the home in which you spent your happy childhood is very much like a funeral. you leave behind those walls painted with your breath, your life, your memories, rooms now emptied of furnitur awkward like naked bodies in the raw morning light, leave behind all those who were with you in those rooms, those who died in those rooms, those whose last breath went into those walls.
you leave yourself behind, trapped and voiceless inside those walls. you as a two-year old, you on your first day of school.
step onto the balcony. there’s the last sunset over the trees climbing the hills on your right. the clock in the tower on your left, always falling slightly behind. the balcony below, cluttered with stuff from before you were born, the sidewalk beaten by rain and snow. your old high school down the street. and the red-brick church in front of it. it’s here, your life, crammed on the 100 square meters surrounding the apartment like a moat.
you step outside the circle and the magic kingdom slowly dissolves behind you into the most common of things. a block of flats in the middle of a small town. and as the car picks up speed on the motorway and pale fields of grain float on either side, you close your eyes. everything turns black with streaks of gold. and in your mind you hang back the paintings on the walls, arrange the furniture as it was, roll the carpets on the freshly waxed floors. outside the bedroom windows the poplar trees are shedding small cotton clouds. nonna is in the kitchen, making plum dumplings, and granddad is in the living-room, reading the newspaper.
and this will go on as long as you go on.