It’s strange to move back to the place where you grew up. Particularly when it’s a small town, close to a bigger small town. A small community, where people often greet each other in the streets, and where the chances of running into someone you know when you pop down to the shops are 98/100. Where everything is pretty much the same as when you left it some 12 years ago. And when you’ve been living as far away as I have, you might as well have been to jail, or lived as nun in monastery; everything is that foreign to you when you suddenly find yourself back in the mix. Your memories over the past 12 years are nothing like the stuff you see around you; after all, your memories are of beaches & sunshine, of city life & trams & trains & 9-6 working days, of warm winters & even warmer summers, of dry asphalt & t-shirts in January. Of freedom, you know, that feeling as you leave work on a sunny Friday afternoon, knowing that the AFL Grand Final is on tomorrow and all your friends are coming over for a backyard party in the afternoon. That on Sunday, you’ll drive down to the beach somewhere, who knows exactly where, that doesn’t matter, but you’ll pick up a coffee on the way and sit in the passenger seat with your feet out the window. Air. Warm, soft air. That’s what it’s all about.
It’s 2:30 pm and you used to be one of the teenagers over there just leaving school. Walking to the bus, catching it home and then what. Dreaming about the future, of how one day life is going to be so much more exciting. More exciting than now. Today I’m just a lady with a pram, passing the teenagers leaving school. I saw many of those when I was in my school days; I just never knew you had travelled so widely. That your life had been so full of excitement, of courage and guts, of up’s and down’s, of memories and experiences. Of life.
Sometimes you need to come back to where it all started. You’ll wonder if the past 12 years was just a dream; maybe you really did go to jail, or were abducted by aliens. Some days, I feel like I’m living in a new town all together, because the eyes that I see through now are completely different to the ones I used to see through. They see different things, this new set of eyes. And today, when I was out, and the sun was shining and the air was crisp, they saw the most wonderful things.