Home, sweet home.
My mind has been filled to the brim with what I need to do when I reach university; where I go, what I do, who I'll meet. I've been worrying, feeling excited, nervous, giddy - about my new life, my new friends to come, all the little routines I'll work out when I settle in. It's only tonight, as half of my possessions are hauled into the car and I've had to say goodbye to my neighbours and Nana and Grampy and set my alarm clock for seven, that I've really considered that I'm leaving my old life.
It keeps hitting me. I can't wear my big fluffy dressing gown because it's packed away in the car. I won't be able to lie in tomorrow, then pad down to the kitchen and attempt to wrangle something out of our toaster. I won't hear the floorboards creak mercilessly and hear doors banging downstairs. I'm moving out.
I thought I'd be crying, but I'm...I can't describe it. I think I'm in a state of shock, odd as it sounds. It just seems unfathomable that I won't be here for so long. This is my home. I've lived here since I was a weeny little one year old. This little house at the edge of the countryside; with a garden backing onto an industrial estate, and doors that seem to be in sync with each other. The idea that I'm leaving it for such a long time is, really, only starting to hit home now.
This is madness. I'm genuinely having trouble expressing myself, here. If I could, I'd be profound, but I really can't form the right words. It's an indescribable feeling.
I won't deny that I'm afraid. A familiar feeling is cropping up; a childish one that I seem to get whenever I'm far from home, nervous, not having a good time, any one of those things; I wish I'd stayed at home. Stayed where it's familiar, and safe, and comforting. Where I know what I'm doing and where to go. It doesn't matter if I'm in China or at a sleepover somewhere; that feeling has bitten at me a few times over the years. I seem to be getting it now. What the hell are you doing? Stay here!
But I know that it's time to move on. I chose this path, and I'm glad I chose it. And I'm lucky to be able to take it, as well. And I do know that when I get there, when I'm thrown into a new environment, and when I make new friends, I won't pine for what I see as home. I'll be too busy. And I expect that's the purpose of Fresher's Week; to distract you, to keep you busy. I'm sure I'll love it.
But, oh God. I have to leave here. The ropey town centre and the walk through the streets in early mornings and the bus station and the smell of books from upstairs at work and the journeys to see my friends in the next town and everything. I'll be back before I know it, but at this very moment, it's not the nicest of feelings.
I never packed a billion boxes and set my alarm for seven to chicken out, though. Tomorrow I'm off on a new adventure. Which is terrifying, and heartbreaking, when I think of what I'm leaving behind. Like my Dad said earlier, "it'll never be quite the same."
But it's new. It's brilliant. I had to let go sometime.
I'd better stop before this rambles out of all proportion. I'll post (and tweet!) from Lancaster, of course, but I had to get this all out, incoherent as it is.
Goodbye, Cheltenham. Goodbye house. Keep yourselves lovely while I'm away.
I really shouldn't be listening to Peter Gabriel's The Book of Love. It isn't helping.