The mist from the sky still circled around the little brown shack that clung to the earth, the jetty built with old rusty nails still held together and the moisture from the air still dampened the grass that froze our little bare feet.
The steps up to the shack still needed replacing, the tuis, Pompom and Bob, still sat singing in the harakeke and the little tin we used to collect crabs in still sat in the corner of Koro’s shed which was now covered in dust and cobwebs along with everything else.
The seedlings we planted beside the shack with our Koro were now a forest of overgrown pine trees bathed in the old needles. The swing we would fight over still hung by threads off the kauri tree my ancestors planted many years ago, and the creaky front door to the shack was still hard to push open.
Inside the shack the scents of my Nanny’s baking still lingered around the room. Her delicious scones filled with butter and jam, her fresh bread perfectly cooked and my favourite: her blackberry pie filled with the blackberries we would pick. The bunk beds that had been used by my Nanny and her sisters still sat in the corner room covered in drawings from all my cousins, and my Koro’s spear that none of us were allowed to touch was still placed next to his couch.
It had been a long time since we had visited the shack since my grandparents passing. It seemed like nothing had changed, and yet so much had.
The little dinghy my Koro used to check his net in the harbour now lay in the overgrown grass, rust eating away at the tin. My Nanny’s stained apron hung heavily behind the front door, almost begging to be used again. Cobwebs draped from every corner of the ceiling and both of their gumboots were now the homes of mice.
Being there in the flesh I felt a strong sense of belonging, but the little shack was missing a very special part; the people that made it home. My grandparents. My Nanny who healed our wounds with a kiss, her delicious cooking that would keep our body fuelled throughout the day, and her soft voice that would shelter us from Koro’s stern voice when we were in trouble. Then there was my Koro, the man of the house with a head full of knowledge and a heart full of love.
Walking along the jetty for the last time I look back at the little brown shack that clung strongly to the early, waiting in despair for those two special people to return. The little shack had many more lonely days to come, but I made a promise that I would return someday and make it my home, just as they did.