Renting out the old place and buying something new. Plans shoved in my face, enlarged halls, more room, a better view, easier access and honestly, that house is just too old fashioned.

That old place was my childhood.

No matter how many years it took me to come back, that old place was my anchor.

This is where am supposed to smile and nod with enthusiasm.

I won’t.

This is where I’m supposed to ask as if I really cared.

I don’t.

But don’t think me childish because truly, I do understand, it’s just, that was my childhood.

The only thing that runs across my mind like a steady drum is; I wish, I wish, I wish.

If only I’d whispered to each hall, room, closet, corner I love you.

If only I’d remembered to capture with the memory of each blink like a camera lens, the crowded visitors, sleeping bodies, rainbow of expressions around the seenaya, Yuma and how she insisted to pray without the chair, all the aunties in the kitchen preparing Friday’s fatoor, Muna as she gracefully mopped the floors, the amount of dust that shaped the air.

If only I’d memorized the so many faces that are now long gone, held you tighter, imprinted your smell, your voice, your texture.

If only I could take these golden moments and spread them about, smoothen the wrinkles and just watch: secrets shared underneath the stars of the satoo7, being almost caught with our first drag of cigarettes, getting chased with the shibshib for being almost 18 and still sliding in the mud as it rained, gathering around one mirror when there were so many others, pushing and shoving as we passed around that eyeliner.

If only I’d have just one last chance to slide down that banister, run my hands across every crack, every scar to these marbled floors and relive their stories, and just swing my body round and round that garage pole, lose my balance and just lay in the sun.

I wish I could go back to the familiarity of truth and simple ness, when what I spoke in my mind was awarded not punished, when I was not afraid to let my feelings run wild, climb trees, be muddied, be a complete mess and so, so free.

And now, when I’ll drive down that familiar street, littered with new shops and unfamiliar places, my house reshaped, maybe a bank, a school, I’ll make sure to slow down, lower the window and smile at the heat as it slaps my face, shade my eyes and in an instant remember, just like that fabled second right before you die, all the memories gathered in a sigh and say there goes my childhood.