This is a tiny extract from my current work in progress.
Sometimes the only way to remember the early years is to trace the memories back to the streets they emerged from. There were so many houses early on, so many schools, so many new beginnings. Can a beginning be thought of as new if it starts and ends the same as all the other beginnings? Is this how other families work too, this constant shifting, but never starting over—just starting again, and again—sometimes only a few streets away, across a suburb line.
My family managed to find whole clusters of suburbs where time worked in the same way, always staying still, never moving. Suburbs where if you stayed too long you got a glimpse of the person you would become. I can see now, how easy it is to stay, how time and place can slowly wear you away, slowly permeate your sense of being, your sense of belonging. How you can wake one day and know without a doubt, that you have become this place where time is still, where people are worn away to their very shell, this place that you come to find you can never leave.
Some years there is more than one street, more than one house, more than one school, this makes it harder to remember. Some years my memories settle on other markers of time, of place. Some years the streets are all I have to remember them by, or the houses, the waking dreams, the nights I can’t forget.