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An Ode to My Keeper

I live in the pages of a childhood diary that I forgot I ever had but have stumbled upon randomly and now cannot keep myself from flipping through all the memories that seem like they belong to another lifetime entirely.

For when we moved in initially, this house was nothing more than blank pages bound together immaculately, but still clinically empty. It's taken me eleven years and a handful of weeks, to finally step back and take in all that we have scribbled in collectively. The great care my parents took in picking out every single furniture piece so they would each serve their purpose individually; the wide beige sofa big enough for us to lay on as a family, the old wooden dining table that has followed our footsteps in moving houses all over the city, my grandparents’ wicker chairs still sitting on our balcony, and the large teak swing in the nucleus of our home, tying it together neatly. The empty white pages were soon doodled on with caricatures of ourselves through the years, as each of us penned down our legacy.

We coloured in the walls with grand paintings and family photographs, while the bedrooms were painted with strings of fairylights and posters, and colourful carpets were laid beneath our feet. Some pages required careful consideration, dotting them with family memorabilia and antiques, while others were torn out and redone completely, changing a functioning guest room into a studio for therapy. Others were less dramatic and purposeful, almost like the pages of a juvenile scrapbook, where one scribbles without a care, cutting up old pictures and abandoning any colour scheme as my bedroom became a cluttered manifestation of all that I would see in my dreams.

We leafed through our days, pausing at every junction to celebrate birthdays and graduations and anniversaries, never letting a moment slip before we had a chance to create a memory. But after one of us checked out too early, we began folding the pages we had passed already, marking those moments in hindsight as the most extraordinary. The rest of the family has shut the book entirely, ready to leave behind all the pieces that hold our legacy, but I can’t seem to tear myself away so easily. I’m still colouring within its lines, sashaying from one room to another like a phantom of all that used to be, watching reels of our memories playing noisily in front of me as our home is stripped bare and once again reduced from a personal journal recording our journeys, to just another notebook – nothing out of the ordinary.

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