She didn’t think she’d ever be back, ever see the old house again. But here she was. She had arrived by plane (how the world had changed!), then taken a taxi. There was no one who remembered her, no one to stay with, so she had checked into a hotel.
Much of the town she didn’t recognise but the closer she got to the old streets, the more she could trust her instinct. It was hot and the roads were empty. Not many tourists verntured up here. How could a place look so familiar and so alien at the same time? She didn’t linger, didn’t look around. She was hoping for a sense of home, but afraid it wouldn’t come. For now, getting to the old house was all that mattered.
Her steps slowed when she spotted the blue on top of the church. There it was, just around the next corner.
She wasn’t sure what she had expected, but not this. Not a complete ruin – the roof caved in, the walls crumbled.
Suddenly she saw herself standing there, the day they left. An 8 year old girl, standing guard over a suitcase, waiting for her parents to emerge. Moving to another country, starting a new life. Those phrases meant nothing to her. They sounded like an adventure, like fun. How could she have known how much she was about to lose? Her home, her friends, her roots.
As she stood again in the same spot, she knew these things were lost forever. She would return to her new life. A good life. She wasn’t unhappy. “Incomplete” was maybe how she felt.
She would forever treasure her memories of life on the island but just as the old house lay ruined, so did her hopes of reclaiming it.
I came across this derelict house in Vathy on Samos/Greece. It seemed so evocative and even though I know absolutely nothing of its history, I knew it had a story to tell. There were many more houses in the little town that looked like the owners had moved away more recently, probably due to the difficult economic situation in recent years.