‘Memories on the Wall’ by Sanjhbati Chakraborty, Year 10, Altrincham Grammar School for Girls

As I pick up the last cardboard box from my car, I pause for a moment and look up at the house; after days of planning and preparation, today is the day I am finally moving in. It is a beautiful house in a quiet neighbourhood, with lots of trees and dark, green ivy trailing up the red brick walls. The driveway is slightly unkempt with weeds pushing their way up through the cracks in the paving slabs but the clay plant pots on the porch still have small flowers growing in them, in delicate shades of pink and red and yellow. I push open the front door and place the box down next to all the others. Inside, the house is bright, filled with sunlight streaming in through the large windows; the clock in the hallway ticks gently and I can hear the faint chirping of the birds in the back garden.

I wander into the living room; everything is perfect, from the homely, blue sofas to the solid, oak furniture to the captivating watercolour paintings hung up on the walls. In the corner of the room stands the upright piano, which not so long ago had music floating out of it, played by eager fingers pressing down on the shining black and white keys. A gentle breeze from the open window makes the long, white curtains flutter and the scattered pages of sheet music on the music stand rustle. As I cross the room, I find myself trailing my fingers over the spines of the books on the familiar bookshelves. Reaching the door to the kitchen, I open it and go in, stepping onto cool, black tiles.

The kitchen is just how I remember it from all those years ago, when I lived here, in this house. This is my home, where I grew up. Scattered around the room are memories of my childhood – artwork painted by clumsy hands taped up on the cupboard doors, the multi-coloured alphabet fridge magnets stuck randomly all over the fridge, the small, glass sculpture of a horse on the shelf above the sink. Everything looks so familiar, it feels as if no time has passed, even though I know it has been years since I moved away.

I am about to leave the room to go and start unpacking my boxes, when something on the wall catches my eye; I step forward to take a look. Going up the wall, there are little pencil markings with numbers next to them in scrawly handwriting. I look closer and read: 112 cm, 6 y. Then, a little further up: 123 cm, 8 y. I smile as I realise what this is; when I was younger, my parents would measure how tall I was every year to see how much I had grown. It amazes me how little everything has changed but the writing on the wall makes me realise something else too. This is my home and nothing can change that.