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hurry up home

I’ve come to know life as a series of memories, memories which pile on top of each other one by one forming our present-day selves. Much like memories are these images, moments in time which for one reason or another I chose to isolate. Keepsakes, pieces of a puzzle that only I can understand as only you can understand yours. 

Mine begins in England, where at the age of fourteen my parents decided to move me and my sisters - quite literally -  to the other side of the world, to Aotearoa, New Zealand. This is where my puzzle splits into two, before and after the move and the subsequent moves that followed after, as me and my family move back and forth around the globe searching for where it is we feel at home. 

One of my earliest memories, a moment in time that for one reason or another I have chosen to be more substantial than others, takes place when I am seven years old. I am in my small box bedroom; I’ve woken in the middle of the night to my teddy bears staring down at me. It’s warm and there’s the start of a summer thunderstorm outside. 


Scared, I leave my bed and go into my parent’s bedroom but they’re not there. I try the next room, my sister’s bedroom. I’m not sure what is said but I find myself on the top bunk curled around one of my sisters, hugging her tightly as each thunderbolt crashes outside. In this moment I recall her soothing me, she tells me that we are safe, that we are cocooned in the invisible protective barrier of her bunk, no evil can get us neither can the lightning. She is my big sister and I feel safe. 

At the start of this year, that same sister gave birth to her second child here in Aotearoa. Having struggled with her first child, the prospects of caring for a new born again triggered a series of emotions she’d buried deep within herself and she started to experience frequent panic attacks. 

One afternoon as the baby slept, my sister asked me to lay in bed with her, to comfort her, something which she has never asked of me before. Just as I did to her that night in the top bunk, she clung to me. Her heart racing so fast in her chest that she was sure she wouldn’t survive.

all images © ellie waters
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