When you move house as a kid, you automatically sever those friendships that everyone else seems to have for the rest of their lives. You’re at a disadvantage before you’ve even started.
You have no references to old crimes and local perverts. You have no idea who is world famous round here. You haven’t been to parties inside six different houses down this street. The lady in the corner shop doesn’t go to bingo with your nan. There’s no catching up with an old school friend’s mum in the big Asda, no getting a haircut from someone’s pregnant little sister, there are no funny stories about how your uncle used to go out with your friend’s mum when they were 16, and no teacher ever says they remember catching your dad smoking when they taught him here.
Whether you’re an Army brat, moving away for a fresh start, escaping from a dangerous place or reluctantly following where the work is, it is hard to start from scratch. Everyone is looking. At you. The invisibility of your old life has gone. You become the new kid, supposedly ripe easy pickings for the bullies. You want to make friends but your guard is up. You want to try new things but they are so different. They make fun of your voice. Even the water doesn’t taste like it used to.
It must be heartbreaking to watch your own child cry themselves to sleep. But you can’t go back.