One minute I was casually, masochistically browsing Zoopla; the next I was back in my old family home – the house my parents so cruelly sold off last spring. It seemed the new owners had spent the last 18 months making their mark on things, and it’s fair to say none of it was to my taste.
“THIS PLACE IS FUCKING HIDEOUS,” I screamed, examining the new kitchen worktops. Our familiar black granite had been ripped up and replaced with something cheap and white, which really jarred with that new tunnel where the fridge used to be.
“It’s not so bad,” said my mother, apparently popping back for a visit from their new house in Aberdeen – two hours and forty minute drive from here. “Ross, what are you doing?”
“Exploring this tunnel where the fridge used to be,” I grimaced. “There’s a wine rack back here. But – hah - rooky mistake. They’ve installed it back to front and the plyboard is showing.”
“Okay,” said my father, having also just materialised in the kitchen. “Call us when you’re done, we’re going back to the car.”
Satisfied that the kitchen was now completely ruined, I retreated upstairs to the bathroom from not this former family home, or the one before that, but the one before that. I sat down on the gross peach toilet I can apparently still remember from when I was 8 and reopened Zoopla.
The horror! On my screen were dozens of pictures of the kitchen downstairs and the rest of the more recent family home; not in their prime, but in the aftermath of our departure. Overgrown garden, empty rooms, bare walls, carpets bearing the indents of furniture now lost to the relentless tide of time. I wept, bitterly.
Some time later, I ventured out to my parents’ car.
“Ross!” my father exclaimed. “Why are you crying?!”
“BECAUSE I’M TIRED,” I yelled, finally waking.
1. I may still harbour some lingering resentment about the sale of my former family home and parents' subsequent move to Aberdeen.
2. I do not like white kitchen worksurfaces.
3. Fridge tunnels.