Thursday, 10 September 2009

Ghosts rising out of dust and late crimson sunlight populates those former houses. How many still stand? Two in the rough port town upon the listing seas of the south coast. These two are barely remembered: a cobbled street, square-cut stone step, tiny steep staircase, sliver of garden (in the second), a backroom window covered in frost. The stories that were told hold enough in themselves to inhabit estates - the journeys on a moped whilst still high in the womb, the day the television was stolen, the gently ascending job opportunities of my mother, the icy hills and motorbike accident, the day the neighbour - high on drugs - sent himself through the bedroom window, fields of buttercups, tiring walks across to the Solent, infant feet knocking pebbles against one another.

When we moved from the quiet, brutalist concrete shopping centres and squabbling bars, from the docks and permit parking to the Midlands countryside, were words said? Was the word home invoked? These were the early houses and the eighties, climbing a gentle ladder from terrace to semi to rural detachment - an odd new-build on an outcrop of entirely flat, arable land. Visions proceed of gulls squabbling behind combine harvesters, fires raging through the stubble during early autumn and great yellow swathes of rapeseed. My father returning home in his car, out all day trying to sell car batteries, bringing good news with the hot sunset. Behind such imagery, the bold colours are as tied into my childish retreat as the gently evolving structure of my family. A child, a sister, another, a girl again, then a brother. Later, twins, but they - in a way - are of another time. Entirely connected and loved but knowing only of one county and nothing of the return, knowing only of one parent.

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