Age twelve, I was terrible. Not yet a teenager but causing my parents more than their fair share of trouble. Their house, my home, became more a drop-in-centre for me and my newly acquired following of friends.
A place that felt small when I was too big for my boots.
My bedroom, a recent garage conversion, provided the perfect private space; a flight of narrow stairs separating us, from them. Pastel paint and ‘Forever Friends’ spoke of my all too recent childhood whilst shared secrets and first kisses were played out in front of an audience of tatty posters from the middle of magazines that screamed from the walls of an attempt to become someone new. Dim light cast doubting shadows.
Down the corridor, the kitchen had become a cold and deserted space. The spacious extension never stepped up to the mark. And the back door marked the boundary between all that was familiar and the world I wanted so desperately to explore. Never locked, it became the direct route to my first attempts at freedom.
Upstairs was different. An oversized TV provided a non-stop soundtrack to the 90s. Tatty pink sofas, that were yet to be replaced, saw my parents take time to stop and rest. When they were home, that’s where they could be found. A constant, my brother would be attempting to transform the scene into the backdrop to some of the greatest sporting victories the world would never see with each bounce of a ball. Upstairs was home.
And nestled at the top of the house were their bedrooms. And somewhere I would soon sacrifice the space and freedom of my downstairs for in favour of angular ceilings and a cramped child’s bed. Just to be near them. Just to feel close. Subconsciously trying so hard to remain a part of them whilst the rest of the world slowly succeeded in pulling me under and away.