We forget the places we come from. We keep into our thoughts and memories certain smells, some mental pictures and moments, the faces of the people we love. We pretend to remember and to know what is happening in those places even if we are far away and disconnected from that world. The fact is that we only remember what we choose to and never the reality that is played everyday in the lives of the people who are left behind.
I am back to the place I used to call home and I remember now. I remember how much I used to love this house. I remember how we assembled all the furniture and the comfort of the couch that hosted my tears and smiles over the years. I remember how I used to pace the kitchen floor thinking that it was the most beautiful place in the world. I remember our first Christmas here and my 25th birthday spent at the kitchen table with good friends eating dinner. I remember the dreams we forged in this place, the kisses, the parties, the smell of good food and incredible sweets. I remember the despair, the long discussions in the middle of the night, packing and unpacking after every long trip in different parts of the country. I remember how we decided to completely change our lives on the same couch I am sitting now and the following painful months before we were reunited as a family again. I remember and can feel everything now.
Coming back to this house that witnessed so much, is joy and sadness at the same time. I am everything I set out to be when I packed the last boxes and moved away never planning to come back. This place confirms my decision and fills my heart with melancholy and maybe a little bit of pain. It’s hard to face your past and your last memories within the walls you chose to be your family’s first home. After tasting all the good and bad memories, there is only one image that dwells into my thoughts: my final moments of loneliness here. Never in my life have I felt a greater pain than that of sitting alone in a home we had build ourselves, struggling and fighting the thought of leaving my country, my city, the people I love. Being alone, packing our memories in cardboard boxes, sealing them and putting them away in a dark place, sleeping in a big empty bed, isolating myself from the rest of the world, sitting on the terrace breathing in the cigarette smoke feeling empty and abandoned. That is the last memory I shared with this place.
Now, after so many years, after building so many new, wonderful memories, this empty house smiles back at me and tells me: “I told you so!” No longer my home, but still a big part of me.