I placed you in the car capsule. You were like a beautiful mollusc, floppy and soft bodied, and the car capsule your shell. I felt like a thief unwrapping you from your snug habitat and buckling you in, your limbs awkward and unwilling.
We carried you from the stuffy hospital into the bitey Winter air and drove south to home. Daddy drove slowly, and I held on to the door, fearing that the slightest movement might break you. We inched over every speed bump and sidled around corners at a pedestrian pace. Though we had travelled that stretch of highway thousands of times before, instead of mindlessly following the familiar black snake of a road home, on this day we could see every pebble, every leaf, every letter on every sign. We drank that trip in tiny sips: the car was so quiet we could hear every breath, every squeak, every murmur from your tiny throne.
I couldn’t believe they let us take you home.
We made a tiny nest for you of flannel and cotton in our white weatherboard by the sea. You’re named after that cold, dry Winter. And as a nod to your reign over our domain, on our first family Christmas – in the middle of Summer – it snowed on our sandy lawn.
We never baptised you. You are a child of this garden, this house and this family. You’re a child of this town with its rutted dirt tracks and tea-tree lined lanes. Our family story weaves through the neighbourhood like couch grass runners, creeping under fences, and each day we become more and more entwined with this place called home.
My favourite memory of home is linen. I love the smell and feel of crisp, fresh linen, and the feeling of being wrapped up. What is your favourite memory of home?