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When your hearts in one place but your life is another

I went home the other weekend, for literally about 36 hours and it was the quite possibly the saddest trip home I’ve ever had.

It was the first time I’d been home on my own for a very long time, so my need to play tour guide was very much redundant - it was all about me and what I wanted to do -very strange, but nice at the same time.

I’d driven up Friday night after work, 4pm - 11pm I was in the car, just me, Lola and my dodgy Spotify playlist that ranges from 2000s emo bangers to Adele heartbreakers and some cheesy pop for good measure. Once we arrived, I said hello to my family, that were still awake, got Lola settled and went to bed.

Lola, of course, was not keen on sleeping so 5.50am she woke me up and I thought well I’m awake now, let’s go for a walk. This was the best decision ever. We were up before the sun and it was so peaceful and beautiful along the river side.

However, inadvertently I’d walked a route that was a literal walk down memory lane.

The church where I had a first kiss with boy I liked.

The RAF club where there were too many drunken nights.

Old friends houses where we used to play as kids or jump on their trampoline.

The park we drank in (I was a classy bird … it’s okay I know!)

The cafes and shops we used to buy 50p mixes and cheap juice out of on hot summer days (remember when £2 would feed you for a day?!)

The lane where we all tried smoking for the first time.

So many of these wee things, that at the time you don’t think you’ll remember but 10 years plus fill you with a kind of warmth, as well as a good laugh at how seriously you took life as a teenager and how right your mother was, that one day you’d look back and laugh at the current situation.

But more than that, I walked past the theatre I spent every Sunday in for th

e best part of 8 years of my life. Where I made the best memories, made some great friends and learned am dram from some of the best. The first time I felt like I belonged to something - that actually wanted me there. It’s now just a spare piece of ground,

fenced off and looks particularly sad. The theatre had been a swimming pool during the 2nd world war and ended up getting converted to a theatre after it was damaged by the blitz (Greenock got massively bombed due it’s ship building capabilities).

It was a terrific place, don’t get me wrong it was tired but like an old dressing gown, it was comforting, you knew where the dodgy handles were, or what bit of the floor would squeak. It was a magical place, especially for a kid that didn’t really fit in anywhere else.

It broke my heart to see The Greenock Arts Guild, entirely flat.

I also walked past my old school, well the place where it used to stand. It was also flat, bar a new building that took up about 15% of the grounds. Now don’t get me wrong, school was not a nice place for me. I was fat, wore glasses, was of high intelligence, liked emo music, had multi-coloured, asymmetrical hair and got on better with boys than girls. So I was a prime bullying target.

However it still made me sad, that school also had an impressive history, it used to be a private school (I even think a great Granda of mine had gone to it!), then it opened its doors to the wider community and it served as a great school for years to come. It wasn’t all bad at school, there were some good memories but it’s another huge part of my life that no longer exists.

Finally, I walked along to where I used to live,

across from my first job. The wee paper shop was another coronavirus victim. The shutters were down, the street was empty and again I felt a pang of sadness. I met my best friend in that shop, that shopped help pay for me to go to London on my own, helped me pay for Disney. Taught me how to talk to customers, was just a great first job and now it’s shut.

I wandered back to my grandparents, Lola was sick of my walk down memory lane and was ready for a nap. The rest of Saturday I had plans with my best friend and my family, so didn’t really think too much about my morning walk.

But Sunday morning came, after I walked Lola I decided to drive up the Lyle Hill (it’s a great vantage point to see the whole town) and realised my life that existed here is gone. If I came back to live here permanently it would be like starting all over, AGAIN. I’m probably making it out to be more difficult than it would be, but in the past 8 years of living in England, I’ve found a new drama group, a sport/exercise that I enjoy, I’ve made some amazing friends and my job is pretty good too.

So as much as it makes me sad that part of my heart will always be in Scotland and I won’t be, it would appear I’m here for a while.

And for all those other people that have moved away from home and wonder what it would really be like to move back. I would highly recommend going back for a weekend and living like it’s not a holiday. Do the mundane stuff, a trip to Tesco a dog walk (5.50am is optional!) act as if people are busy and they don’t have the time for you, because ultimately if you move that’s what will be the norm more often than not.

I love my home town and the fabulous people in it. But for now home is where my life is, a life I’ve worked incredibly hard to get.

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