By Joseph de Kock
Art by Emily Upton
I nearly set the table the other night, just to have a go at being an adult once in a while. It’s been 8 months since my parents waved their handkerchiefs at me as I set sail to new lands, but already I feel like years have passed.
They’ve been in my room, tidied it up, painted the walls, changed the sheets, and removed any trace of a child’s former bedroom, bar the large wardrobe that now stands almost bursting at the hinges, stuffed with all the childish things I left behind. School uniforms, boogie boards, clothes that I loathed and never wore, clothes that I loved but couldn’t wear any more…these are the relics of my now extinct childhood bedroom.
I went and saw my folks a few weeks ago, and my dad told me I’d borrowed an adapter off him and it was likely to be in the wardrobe… As I set about unpacking the wardrobe I became obsessed with the trinkets from my past. Odd feelings welled up inside me, feelings that I’d encountered before but when I was much younger at Granny and Granddad’s house in Mum’s old bedroom.
Sleeping in there as a child would on occasion make me feel so utterly despondent. Mum’s room was jam packed with things she’d left behind; dresses, hats, school text books, a bicycle helmet, dozens of stuffed animals, a sewing kit…Would anyone play in this room again? It felt like a part of her would always live on in that room, a poltergeist who didn’t live in my realm. It made me a little sad, a little anxious. It was as if it contained an air of abandonment…of loneliness itself. I used to think ‘This couldn’t be Mum’s room; Mum’s alive and this room is dead.’
The same feeling met me again when I was going through the wardrobe in the bedroom, placed at the end of a house in Yanchep. Here lies the tattered remains of my childhood, just like mum’s room at Granny and Grandad’s. I’m still here, but those things stored in the wardrobe just reek of memory and innocence, sitting in the dark and waiting for me to come back to them. But I’m not interested in them anymore.