My mum is moving today. She’s leaving our hometown near Essex, and is off to the seaside (or, close enough).
Over the holidays my daughter and I went to visit my mum’s for the last time, went to my hometown for the last time.
And I didn’t really bat an eyelid.
I’d kinda already said goodbye before. A couple of months ago, we all assumed that my mum would have sold her house by the time Christmas came around, that we wouldn’t be going back again this year. So a couple of months ago I said my goodbyes, which was only really one goodbye.
I didn’t say goodbye to friends from school (who?) or old colleagues, I said goodbye to a walk.
There’s this lovely countryside walk that I associate with many different memories throughout my time living there. We lived in a couple of different houses in our hometown, but this walk remained. It sweeps through many of the locations that made up my childhood.
There’s the small park in the rich-people neighbourhood, where I drank vodka for the first time. There’s the big hills that we used to ride our bikes up and down with my dad, making me feel weightless. There’s the graveyard and the church, where I used to make out with my “boyfriend”, (we used to swear there was some sort of dogging activity going on in that car park).
There’s the large, muddy field that I once walked around whilst pregnant. There’s the community centre in which our primary school used to perform the Harvest Festival to all our parents. There’s the cricket field where a boy said he loved me for the very first time.
And then if you go the extra long way round, you can go past the large residential area in which we lived in 3 different streets during our childhood, which also contains our primary school. There are a lot of ghosts around there, a lot of streets that I used to cycle around to knock for friends. Some drunken flashbacks of walks/runs home. The back of Sainsburys in which we almost got caught drinking alcohol out of Coke cans by the police.
A lot of different parts of my life lived in that place. A lot of different versions of myself to look back on.
I did complete this walk over Christmas, except I ran it. It’s a long one so there was plenty of stopping and starting again, but I very much enjoyed it. It was enough of a goodbye for me.
I’m glad that that town is behind us. I can look back at it if I want to, but I doubt I’ll really want to. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t particularly good either.