Friday Fiction - Nikki Young Writes

Memories – Friday Fiction

I set myself the task of writing a descriptive piece of fiction this week using all the senses. I’m more comfortable writing active scenes with lots of dialogue, so this area of my writing needs more practice. I used Sara’s prompt word ‘laughter’ and drew on a memory, so it was emotional to put together, but I wonder whether these strong feelings have come across…

The uninhibited deep belly chuckle of my baby son echoes around the room. This type of laughter is impossible to ignore and soon everyone in its presence joins in. The only person not impressed is the cat. Asleep on his throne, light filters in through the window illuminating him like a spotlight on a stage. His head rises from his curled frame and throwing a look of disgust in the general direction of the children he jumps down and makes a regal exit. My gaze follows him, as does the light and the tiny little fragments of dust that dance around to his exit number.

Another song begins as this one ends. This time it is coming from the television. CBeebies plays constantly on a two or three round repeat and I’m sure I’ve seen this episode of Balamory more than once before. I walk through to the kitchen, stepping over plastic food and toy cars that litter the floor. It makes me smile as I think of my constant moaning about discarded toys: ‘you have a play room so why don’t you use it?’ being my daily mantra.

The comforting smell of home cooked casserole fills the air and causes the windows to fill with steam. It doesn’t take much to steam up the windows in this small room. In here, there are several pots and pans on the go, bubbling away in a steady rhythm, all busy cooking up dinner for a growing family of five. The fan of the oven lets out a low and steady whir. It’s a hive of activity, but the cat is oblivious to that. He sits at the back door, with a stubbornness that says ‘I am not moving from here until you let me out’. Quite clearly, he’s had enough.The back door opens and a cool breeze filters in causing my skin to cover in goose bumps. The cat feels it too and for a moment seems undecided about whether to leave the warmth of the house to go outside. The steam suffers no such indecision and leaves without haste.

I look around at the exposed brick walls of the kitchen, covered with drawings and paintings made by the girls: memories of happy times at pre-school and nursery. They also serve as a reminder of how quickly time flies and how so much has changed during our time at this house.

Trying not to get too emotional, I walk back through the lounge and up the stairs. Where to start? Each room up here has seen a number of occupants. Every time we bring a new child home it’s like someone shouts ‘all change’ and we swap around rooms. The room to the right of the stairs, the master bedroom since the extension, was once the nursery. The girls both slept in here, a smaller room back then, painted pale yellow, with yellow and blue gingham soft furnishings, trimmed with little ducks – the result of choosing neutral when you don’t know the sex of your baby.

I picture my eldest daughter when I found her one day balancing precariously on the side of her cot after waking from her nap. She was around eighteen months old at the time and that day signified her promotion to a new room with a big girl’s bed. I see myself, sitting in the darkness feeding my younger daughter, hoping and praying that she would settle back down to sleep once she’d finished. I see an older version of that same baby, lying on our double bed, cuddling her new baby brother.

Walking back across the stairs, the other rooms reflect the personalities of the children who occupy them: one pink room for the princess and her many dressing up clothes and dolls and one purple room for the more conservative child, who is happier to play by herself than with any particular toys. The baby’s room is different. It’s only big enough to fit a cot, chair and chest of drawers and who knows what sort of personality he will turn out to be?

There is a loud honk coming from outside and it startles me. The removal van has finished loading and it’s time to go. This is the moment. These memories flashing before me are just that – memories of happy times in this house. The rooms may all be empty now, but the memories are still here, vivid and strong.

This house, where so much has happened.

Three children lived the first years of their little lives here. There have been sleepless nights, potty training, weaning, first steps and much more, but now I must say goodbye.
Walking back down the stairs, I notice a stain on the carpet: a wine stain left over from a party. Happy times. Laughter, lots of laughter.

It’s hard to say goodbye, but when I look back once more, all I see are empty rooms with empty walls. The plain wooden floors, beige carpets and neutral walls don’t tell the stories of the days spent here. It’s just a house, I tell myself, that’s all. The memories are with you forever, long after you leave here.

I step outside and for the last time ever, close the door. It may only be a house, but to me this place will always be home.


Nikki Young Writes
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Comments (0)

  1. Mummy Tries 26th June 2015 at 8:16 am

    Oh wow Nikki, I have a little tear in my eye after reading that. I know I’m going to feel exactly this way when we finally leave this house – which is likely to be next year, after five whole years… #theprompt

    • Nicola Young 26th June 2015 at 9:08 am

      We lived there five years but my husband grew up in that house and lived there with his dad when I first met him. Then his brother lived there with tenants before we moved back in with our eldest when was six months. It was so hard to leave.

  2. mummyshambles 26th June 2015 at 11:06 am

    I’m crying buckets here…
    Oh Nikki, it’s so beautiful! X

  3. Sara (@mumturnedmom) 26th June 2015 at 2:37 pm

    Oh, this has made me really emotional. I felt like this when we left our home in Edinburgh, all our children had come home from hospital to that house, it’s where we became a family, and leaving it was a wrench. Although it taught me that my home was with my family, not in a specific building, I have so many memories attached to that house that every so often catch me unawares – like now! Beautiful words Nikki, thank you so much for sharing with #ThePrompt x

    • Nicola Young 26th June 2015 at 6:12 pm

      I’m glad you ‘get’ it, but sorry you share the same sentiment. It is more about the memories than the building, but it’s what you associate them with that can trigger those memories.

  4. ema 28th June 2015 at 11:12 am

    Beautiful scenes from family life and strong memories in all the senses. Love the image of home cooked casserole and steamed up windows.

  5. Pingback: A Few Wardrobe Nightmares and Cooking up a Frenzie | Nikki Young Writes

  6. redpeffer 30th June 2015 at 6:25 pm

    Oh, I can totally gel the whole emotions here too. I want to move eventually from the house we live in now, but it has so many memories just as you describe it will make it hard to leave. I’m a sentimental fool though! Really enjoyed reading this.

  7. Rebecca Ann Smith 30th June 2015 at 8:41 pm

    I love the image of the wine stain on the carpet – all the details are very evocative of family life, and as you say, memories of laughter and happy times together

  8. sophieblovett 1st July 2015 at 11:40 pm

    Such a powerful piece! Your writing has a really engaging rhythm, and I love the way your focus roams around and zooms in and out to lead us to important details. We’re very settled where we live right now, but I know one day we’ll outgrow it. I don’t know how I’m ever going to be able to say goodbye to all those memories! X

  9. dillydrops 2nd July 2015 at 12:35 am

    Such an emotive post. Leaving a home that has had so many wonderful memories attached to it is heart wrenching. You have lots more memories to make in your new home though. #ThePrompt

  10. maddy@writingbubble 2nd July 2015 at 11:56 am

    Fantastic writing Nicola, I was there with you as you walked through the house. This made me emotional too as I remember feeling this way when we left our last house (which was when my eldest two were 4 and 2). There’s something about having kids that kind of binds you to a place I think. I remember walking through the empty rooms and the memories were so clear I could almost hear kids laughter. Thanks for linking to #WhatImWriting. xx

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