In Every Dream Home a Heartache.

Everywhere you go, it’s disappearing. The places that came to symbolise the times of your life. The places you went and were. You can no longer find where you are. There is no going home.

Walking around where I grew up, saying hello to the houses that are waiting, waiting. They were a part of a family too. And people will say to you, ‘it’s only a house!’, but houses are homes and that’s where your heart is. And my Mothers house is waiting, and my baby was born there. And my Grandmothers house is gone and my Grandfather died there. And I don’t know if it’s sentimental to miss those places, because they were a part of our lives. They were where we did our living. There is no explaining to people who don’t see it. And I know I’ve gone looking, but they are all still there, fallen in the woods.

And those who look on from London, or are sick of the story, or who come home for Christmas and tell you it’s not that bad; it takes all the air out of you, and you think about the people that are missing, and their families who can no longer hold them, and the homes you don’t have to go to, and how it was that day, and all the days after, and what our new normal is.

Why do you stay?, they’ll ask. Maybe you’ll ask yourself. Especially at night, when there’s a 3 or a 4 that you wait, breathless, to turn into an 8. Or because you have children, and shouldn’t you take them away from all this? But what the Earthquakes stood to teach us, and what being a parent shows you every day, is that anything is possible.

You stay because it is yours. Because it belongs to you. Your memories belong to one another.

It’s what holds us together and stands us apart. We are now connected by what we remember, and that’s ours forever.

It’s our home and our heart.

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A Children’s Story from Christchurch.

One sweet Spring morning, the sun woke us up with the promise of adventure.

We filled our bellies with toast and jam, turning our noses up at slices of apple; prefering to feed them to the dog, who ate them greedily.

We fought our way out of our pyjamas, the ruthless adversaries of every morning, and dressed for the new day.

We hunted our shoes; they would always split up when they knew we were coming for them. It could take us a good long while to capture and reunite them. But we do; because Mother says it is too far to walk in gumboots, and no, she won’t carry us.

We walked to the park, excited about what we would do there. First, the swings! We thought. Then, the birds! We agreed. Last, the slide! We could not wait. We had been so good and walked so far and had hardly rowed at all!

But then!

‘Where is the playground?’, asked Theo.

‘WHERE MAE-MAES SLIDE?’, cried Mabel.

‘Fuck’, whispered Mother.

‘They are fixing the playground!’, She told us.

‘Aren’t we lucky!’, She reasoned.

‘Bloody wobbles!’, She concluded.

And we agreed.