melbourne is a place unlike any other i’ve ever lived. why? because it is home. not the kind of home town in which we live, but the place where we grew up. the place where we used to swing on monkey bars, and learned how to ride a bike. the place where the tooth fairy knew where to find us, rewarding our gappy smiles with shiny coins. where we would drift off to sleep tucked up in bed dreaming of holidays and magic and all the things little children dream of. the place where winter meant drinking hot chocolate and wearing mittens.
the place where we climbed trees and ate icey poles on hot summer days. the place where running barefooted resulted in bee-stings which made us feel brave. the place where the local pool was our haven after surviving the longest of school days. of daylight savings and staying up late, with the freedom to play outside as long as we were home before dark. the place where we had lockers at school and bags full of books, and the hem on our uniforms always needed stitching because that’s what happens when you’re in between childhood and adolescence. the place of first kisses in treehouses and our very first school dance. the place where mothers would kiss our scrapes and bruises making them instantly feel better.
it is also the place where, as uni students, we spent afternoons lounging in cafes consuming too many coffees with the only type of smugness the casually employed are entitled to. of smoking cigarettes with a teenage rebellion that says ‘i can do whatever i want’. it is the place of grown-up nights spent in wine bars sipping serious wine, of ambling through chinatown eager for dumplings.
it is the place of journeys on trams, holding on so as not to fall over as they chug along the city streets, of secret laneways with secret restaurants, and street art and gardens and festivals, where markets and galleries abound. it is the place that always promises both sunshine and rain, of 4 seasons in one day, the place with the long, low sky punctuated with clouds. it is the place of friendship and memories, of leaving and returning, and then leaving again. it is the place that always welcomes us back, never cross we’ve stayed away for so long, wrapping us up while whispering softly, ‘you’re home’.