There is a memory on every single street, most of them good and all of them gone.
I walk down Bidwell and I can actually taste the sticky sweet of the ice creams we used to eat as we walked up after school. My skin stings from the itch of wool wrapped around my waist, heavy from a jersey that no longer hangs there.And there’s this street that the taxi always takes me up from town, and it’s really long right? Like this massive, massive hill and as we drive up it all I can think about is this memory of me running up it. Running and running and running, gasping, out of breath, an agonising stitch burning in my side, but still running – because we had ‘borrowed the car,’ and your curfew was getting closer and I remember watching the pink sky growing lighter and this mix of laughter and fear and tears flowing out of my mouth. Every time I drive up there I can feel it again. I want to laugh and cry and I’m afraid again.
Going home is the best – because it’s home. It’s familiar and I love it there. But this time I struggled because no matter what I was doing I felt like I was living three lives in each moment. The present was constantly being overpowered by the past. And yeah, it’s confusing. You see people and in so many ways they are exactly the same as they once were. But I have to acknowledge that they’re not. They’re growing up, they have a world outside of me that they all live in and I guess I have a world outside of them too. But for me that world is always overshadowed. I come home and what I have in Auckland doesn’t matter. Who I’ve become, the person I’ve grown up to be, the stresses and realities that shape my life here – they don’t matter.
Every time I go home I am abruptly thrown back to that leggy, newly eighteen year old girl. The one who just finished high school, who had no idea what the future would hold. I am new blonde highlights and unscarred knees, drunk off half a bottle of fizzy beer. Taylor Swift’s album has just come out, none of my socks match, my hair is never brushed, I have new friends who I have started to hang out with and I think I might really grow to love them. Going home is returning to a world that belongs to that girl and not to me. Even though she doesn’t exist anymore, even though everything has changed.
Which isn’t to say I don’t love it because I do. I miss being in Wellington the most when I am there. When I fly in I never want to leave and sitting on my plane to get out of that city is physically painful. But even when I’m home I miss the parts of it that are long gone now. Home is always home but it’s not always within my grasp, I can never hold all the parts of it I want to because most of them had to die for me to reach where I am now. They’re parts that won’t come back but also won’t leave me alone. I guess in that way sometimes going home to Auckland is a relief.
(I’m still thinking of something big to write haha)