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Memories and Houses

I told my aunt how sad I was about leaving the house at Aireys. She said she still remembered the big old key turning in the lock of the front door of her childhood home. From that house, my grandparents home, I still have the smell of my grandmother’s dressing room – a small very private space off her bedroom – the smell of the bran mix my grandfather fed to his chickens and the perfume of sun ripened peaches, still on the trees.

This house, the house I am leaving today, is the only house I really loved. Its big clear open spaces, trees, bird calls, views out to the Otways, neighbours, old red timber floors … I loved this house for its generosity and the way it breathed life into me after a week in the city.

When I left Simon I joked that I had been banished to the beach house. But that’s not really the case. I chose to come here. I spent a cold harsh muddy winter here, recovering. Now, ironically, I joke that I lost the house in the property settlement, but, bought with his inherited money, the courts argued that it was never really mine to lose.

I have now removed every trace of me from the house. I have been for a run along the cliff path and back through the bush. I have scrubbed my self out of the shower recess. Last night the King Parrots came by with this year’s babies. I said goodbye to them. Cheeky and Cheeky, the two pink Galahs won’t be around until November. I will miss their noisy arrival and their puffed up chests as they strut along the deck rail demanding to be fed. I have spread the last of the bird seed on the deck. The door bitch is here. She won’t share it with the other Cockies.

In my absence I want to deliver some sort of message to Simon. It’s a message about houses and love and belongings. Words never worked with him, nor did reasoning or tears or blind rage. What I hope is that when he turns the key and enters this house he will see that it was too much mine to ever be his.

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