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Sunday, February 19


I had to do it. My retina doctor is 2 minutes from Mom's house. So, after my appointment, I said we should drive by, see if anyone moved in yet. My brother had stopped by a month ago and it looked empty still.

So, I told Russell to drive slowly but not so slowly as to look like stalkers. Which, of course, we were. It was afternoon, but the porch lights were on. Wait. Lights? Plural? 2 new lights flanked the front door. I sniffed that it was overkill. Then I spotted the couch. It was positioned under the picture window. My folks never had furniture there. It was always a table of some sort with a lamp of some sort. One always had to have a light in the window. Now there was a couch. Maroon. Unseemly.

We were beyond the house, so I asked Russ to turn around and drive by again. Even slower this time because it appeared nobody was home.

Home. Their home, not mine.

The screened back patio looked empty, but it is Winter after all. Maybe in the Summer they will have parties there. Groaning plates of food brought out from the kitchen to the big table outside. Soft breezes through the walls of screen. Laughter. Scrabble. Coffee.

The bedrooms were closed from view with shades. Shades. Hmm. Interesting concept. Did we have shades? How can I not remember that? It felt like they were telling me to quit spying already.

By the time we got to the corner, just 3 houses away, I felt the loosening of ties. I had grown up there and now someone else's life will be tied to that place. To the groaning basement, the distant sound of a freight train in the night, the slight uphill climb on your bicycle that turns into a free ride in the wind when you go back. They belong to strangers. I hope the house welcomes them. I wonder if some little piece of my life..a scrap of a note, the back of an earring, will turn up when they sweep making them wonder where that came from.

I may never have cause to turn on to that little dead end street again. No need now. Nobody, no thing awaits,

More than ever, I feel the shift of change, of loss, of fresh starts.

Just a house, after all. Rooms, walls, floors.



Joanne said...

We have to do it, don't we. Check out the place we took all those memories from. My childhood home and my grandparents' home were so much smaller than I remembered.

linda said...

My family home is now a thing of the past. when I did some renovations (this had been my parents home) I made a "time capsule" of papers, pictures, and current coins and buried them in a newly constructed wall. Will they ever be found? who cares but me? i drive by, more quickly now, as it hurts and always will. WOW.

Greg said...

One of my cousins lives next to the two houses I grew up in. [Yes, in the first two decades of my life, I lived in two houses next door to each other.] That cousin grew up in the first house I lived in so there is a weird sense of lingering connection even though the current occupants are no longer family members. But I have gotten used to the idea that the building is no longer "our house." Of course, "our house" still exists in my memories.