This place hasn't felt like home for a few weeks now, cardboard boxes are stacked neatly in every room, waiting patiently for the day to come when they will be transported to the new place. My feelings have changed now, once a place I called home it feels anything but now. The memories are still there, they will never fade, but it's just not home anymore, it's not my home.
We've been here 12 years now, it's gone so fast. I stand in the garden and remember the trees that covered the lawn, the concrete path that ran down the middle of the garden, the shed at the end on the right with it's net curtains. It's looks nothing like that now. The trees are gone and replaced with grass, the concrete path dug up and removed. The shed knocked down and replaced with a plastic one, half it's size and souless, the character of the shed unable to be replaced.
I turn and walk through the back door into the kitchen, remembering the winter when we had it built. It was so cold that year, we couldn't afford to have it built in the summer, we had to move out for three months whilst they did it. You pregnant with Grace, Laura a toddler, we moved in with your parents, watching from afar as it took shape. Choosing the paint and the kitchen, the tiled floor, the playroom we had built for the kids with the patio doors that led into the garden.
I run my hands over the smooth plastered walls, remembering the times I spent coming home from work and painting them, the drawn pictures we have stuck on the walls as proud parents whenever the kids have handed us their latest work. I walk into the hallway and see the mirror hanging there, a gift from the people we bought the house from. I run my hands over the White painted banister and remember the time I decided to strip it back to the wood, it didn't last long it looked awful.
I climb the stairs to the bedrooms, stopping at the one that houses the kids first. The holes in the wall show where the shelves have been that carried the cuddly toys we collected when they were young. The bunk beds that used to take up most of the room are gone now and I wonder how the kids will feel being split up into separate rooms in the new home. All they have ever known is sharing and it worries me a little. I touch the bright yellow wallpaper and remember the times I've painted it, the colours it's been, the cartoon characters that have been stuck on the walls and the sides of the room where the cots once stood.
I turn and walk into the bathroom, I can picture it strewn with towels and toys and I smile as I see the goggles on the side, left there from when the boys last had a bath and swam under water. I see the collection of shampoos and shower gels, strawberry cheesecake, lemon sorbet, orange and passion fruit, the girls love the smells of those when they bathe. I see the toilet seat is down and wet, a sure sign the boys have been in here already today. I grab a piece of toilet paper and quietly wipe the seat before walking across the halway.
I enter our room, I remember the freshness of the flowered duvet set cover on the freshly made bed. I stand there for a second and remember the good and the bad times. The tears that were shed when we lost our first baby, the tears of joy and suprise when I heard Michaels heartbeat for the first time. The cuddles from the kids and the sleepless nights when I couldn't fit in our bed because they were all in it. The cot by the side of the bed from when they first came home, the times I spent checking on them, poking them gently to make sure they were still breathing or laying there watching them sleep.
I walk out of the room and down the stairs for a final time. I reach the front room and walk into it one last time. The pictures are down from the walls now, all that's left is the telly on the unit we bought from ikea. We are leaving this behind, a gift to the new owners. I sit on the floor where the settee used to be and I can't help it lump reaches my throat. I realise this will be the last time I will ever walk through this house and it's hitting me hard. I take a deep breath and try and remember some good times, of which there are plenty.
Laura's first steps were in this room, we found out you were pregnant with Grace in this room, Michael said his first words in this room and Reece still cuddles you as he falls asleep on the settee in this room. I've told you hundreds, if not thousands of times I love you in this room, it's been the heart of our home for many years now.
I stand and take a deep breath, these last few steps are the hardest as I reach the door, the lump getting bigger in my throat, I feel the dampness of a tear leaving my eye and rolling down my cheek. I slowly open the door, turn once more too scan the place I called home, and walk through the door into the sunshine outside. I know I shall never return here, this isn't my home anymore. The memories are looked inside of me, they wont ever fade. I wipe my eyes and walk towards the car, the kids inside and you in the driving seat. I get in and you squeeze my hand, you don't have to say a word, there is nothing to say as we pull away and I watch the house get smaller in the distance. Were leaving and we are not coming back, I hear the wind rush past the car and I wonder if it's the house saying goodbye, one last message, a thank you for all the memories we've shared together, or perhaps it's just my imagination.
I hope not as I whisper a final goodbye to the place I called home.