Dear Lower Hutt,
I love you. I know you have a terrible reputation, but you’re the first place I’ve lived just because I wanted to live there, and I’ve enjoyed our time together a whole bunch. You may be full of teenage mothers in white pants and dudes with douchey rims, but you’re also full of cherry trees and wide, flat streets, and little rivers that meander about. I like rivers to meander. I also like old houses and deciduous trees, and you have both in abundance.
I’ll miss our wanders together, Hutt. I’ll miss finding one-eyed baby ferrets in the bush beside the river, and startling squadrons of ducklings out of the grass around Riverside Drive. I’ll miss the cats sunning themselves on the sidewalks and the random family of pukekos by that one bridge. I’ll miss the bookshops in Petone, even though I never remember to go to them, and I’ll miss the firebreaks, even though I hardly ever climb them.
I’ll especially miss the park outside the library — the empty aviary and the little stream, but mostly that ancient, crooked graveyard under those big old oaks. That’s my favourite place to write in the summer, tucked in the bowl of one of those trees with a bunch of long-dead settlers. I think well in cemeteries. My first novel (first first, not Sparks. You didn’t know there was one before that, did you? Ha! Trust me, you didn’t need to) was largely written in the cemetery at Vic, chain-smoking on top of a cracked mausoleum. (Unrelated story: I was there all day on 9/11, and thus managed to have NO IDEA about it until that night, when I stopped in at Scott’s work on my way home. At first I was convinced he was messing with me and I was watching a movie.)
It makes me sad to leave you, Hutt Valley. You’ve been good to me. But you’re not very practical and, frankly, the traffic on SH2 makes me want to AXE MURDER EVERYTHING. The mall is depressing, and how often I’m there is worse. Also, the white pants really are a problem.
I think I’ll probably be back one day. At a later date, in a different place, there’s a villa with a cherry tree with my name on it. But right now, I’m excited to move to a little castle in the sky — to be able to walk to work, and not worry about my car when I’m drinking, and go for steep, winding walks in the bush. I’m excited about the view and the native birds and summer in the city, and about the KITTEN I’m going to get next month.
I’m not excited about moving all my shit.
Neither is my dad.