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  • I smack my kneecap on the kitchen table leg for the third time that morning, and bark out loud “fucking house!”

    This isn’t my home. It’s my parents’ home - the house I grew up in. And yes, it’s full of awkward furniture and blunt knives and rooms kept for ‘good’, but that’s not why it’s a “fucking house”. It’s a “fucking house” because it’s not where I belong anymore, and I don’t really want to be here.

    Not because I’m ungrateful – I’m not. (Lots of people don't have this safety net, I know.) But because my very presence here glows like a giant, flashing neon sign above the door that reads “A GREAT BIG FAILURE LIVES HERE”.

    When my marriage finally ended, it was a relief to come ‘home’. These walls had never seen what I’d lost. The few memories I brought back were neatly boxed and placed in an attic that’s been protecting our family’s history for 25 years. My memories and I would be safe here.

    Two months on, as I grow stronger, my bond with this house becomes weaker. Dog hair, the boom of local radio down the hallway, towels that haven’t been absorbent since 1995.

    But I can’t leave yet. Not yet. Fear of loneliness and financial hardship keep me holed up in my teenage bedroom like a bad case of acne. Maybe I’ll grow out of it soon, or at least be able to cover it up a little and face a new start.

    The box of memories though, I’ll leave where it is. More than me, it seems to belong here.

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