I grew up in that house. Then things got interesting.

July 19th, 2013, 2pm

It was 26°C with clouds and visibility OK. The breeze was gentle.

Families are the strangest things, mine being no exception. The house we lived in (and my parents still live in) had been my great-grandmother’s until age got the better of her, her son and daughter-in-law (my grandparents) lived next door. My parents moved into the house with their young family in 1980 (I was 11) and my sister and her son now live next door. Merry-go-rounds and rounds.

Living with an extended family within forty feet is one thing, what’s odder is that almost all of the recent family history is based around that half-acre or so of land. For example, the origin of the house next door - it was going to be a shop; when my great-grandmother realised that every visitor to the premises would walk past her front bedroom window she bought the place and that was enough of that. It was 1920 and things were cheaper then.

Each moment of our history involves a window I can still see through, or a door I can walk through, one that still sticks in the summer. Stories about visitors, or people who came and then left, or never left. The tree that I climbed as a boy is now gnarled and smaller, locked to the ground by vines and creepers knotting over and under branches that extend to the garage beside it.

My family are still there, and I’m not. But the vines drag me back too.

Amal, Cassie and Allen said thanks.

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Tom Abba

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