Yesterday I took Monkey back to my home town. I grew up in Surrey, not the posh part, actually far from it and although I didn’t have the best upbringing I still try to hold onto the many good memories there.
I’ve always wanted an excuse to drive past the house with my little boy in the back and my wife by my side. So that’s what we did. I pointed to all the places I’ve talked about over the years, remarking how nothing much has changed. I drove down the street where I used to walk to school, pointing to my friends houses that I stopped at along the way. I could almost see myself walking on the pavement, laughing with Claire and Sophie about whatever we had got up to the night before.
I’ve been back many times over the past 9 years since I left, however this was the first time I felt like a visitor, like this place was no longer my home, and the feeling was quite welcome. I didn’t feel attached to it, I didn’t miss it. I was just driving through.
Since giving birth to M, I’ve developed a strong feeling of home here in the countryside. I married my wife here and we started our family here. This is where I belong.
There is only one thing I miss back in Surrey and that’s my friends.
A year year ago we lost a dear friend of ours, a wonderful man, who was taken from us too soon. So to mark the date we were invited to spend an afternoon with friends and family at a local park we all used to go to as kids. We all sat on the grass and laughed about the wonderful memories. This park happens to be the place we all used to drink at when we were teenagers (oops) but that made the conversation even better.
About 20 minutes passed when a big group of T’s other friends arrived with balloons and tags for us all to write a note to him and send them up into the sky. It was such a lovely moment when we released them. We all stood watching them rise higher and higher into the clouds a haze of blue and white (his football colours). We were surrounded by our wives, husbands, partners, sons, daughters, friends and family to remember our dear friend. Some of us got teary eyed and the rest of us comforted them. Hugs were shared and then we all walked back together. Closer than ever.
Time, as it does, always seems to fly by and it was soon time for us to leave. The journey back home was lovely. We joked with M and we all sang songs. I didn’t feel like it was a sad day. It was a very emotional day but not sad.
We had the pleasure of knowing T, being friends with him for so many years and even though we wish he was still with us, he will always be at the very heart of us.
We love you xx