I sat at my kitchen table, mine – my kitchen table. I lit a cigarette, somehow the ashtray just slid to me as it should. ‘Flannery O’Connor on steroids’ wrote John Williams about Harry Crews. That’s so lazy but I’m too lazy to explain why.
I felt home. Have you ever felt home? I mean felt home flowing through you and into everything around you like a superpower.
The kitchen table from circa 1980. The Russian fridge still going after thirty years. Everything unchanged. Untouched. This is where I watched my parents chase each other – dad on one side of the kitchen table, mum on the other. She held a chair up as if the chair would protect her. And they’d scream and curse and then calm down and kiss. I saw this madness like I saw my own spit fly off the balcony. Or baby chicks in the bathtub. My childhood was incredible because I created it that way in my mind, over and over, crafted like the handcrafted chess pieces my grandfather gave me when I was four.
Harry Crews wrote my favourite book, A Childhood, as if he sliced a bit of time out of the world and inserted it into type, complete with magic, soul and desire. I sat crying at my kitchen table because this was home and I could do exactly what I wanted to do. Then I left.