(The M1 north, in the rain. Taken by me.)
This weekend, I went to visit my parents at home. It was a regular visit; a trip out, a family meal. Spot of shopping with my Mum. Pork chops for dinner.
My old room has just been redecorated, almost a decade after I left to go to university. I returned at holidays, and for a few months afterwards, but the room stayed the same until a few months ago.
Now my brother has left home too, his room is a sort of mixture of half of his things, with my Mum and Dad's stuff slowly encroaching (I noticed sewing books, where once was an over-sized stereo).
His notice board, once filled with homework to-do lists and missives from ex-girlfriends is still there. The only thing on it now is pinned in the bottom corner: a photo of my Dad, aged 20-something, laughing at something and looking for all the world exactly like my brother.
Before I left, I went upstairs and wandered in absent mindedly. I stood there for a while, looking at that photo and his pictures still on the walls and thinking about the baby he's having with his partner. Philip Larkin kept going round in my head:
Home is so sad. It stays as it was left,
Shaped to the comfort of the last to go
As if to win them back.