Tuesday, December 11, 2012

My House

Even after all this time, my first instinct when I unlock the door is do not let the dog out!!!  I guess all the years of having a dog who desperately plotted to escape makes for a hard habit to break.  I walk into the foyer and all is silent.  There is no one to greet me anymore. The smell is musty old house, mixed with new paint.  There are a few boxes and random "I don't know what to do with" items scattered in the dining area.  Cans of paint and paint rollers lay across the counter by the kitchen sink.

The living room is bare.  The furniture has been long gone, given away.  The curtains from JC Penny's are in a pile waiting to be laundered and the fresh painted paneling is stripped from all the decor that used to hang there.  I look at the corner and imagine a big Christmas tree and a cardboard red brick fireplace. And I remember the little girl who was so excited when the tree went up.  The box of ornaments was kept in the hall closet.  It was way at the top, in of all things, a toaster oven cardboard box with red lettering.  The box smelled of snow in an aerosol can and Christmas tree scent.  The strings of colored lights would be untangled and stretched across the green shag carpet.  The bulbs looked like little cone shaped flowers.  After each strand was tested, then they were wrapped around the tree.  The same ornaments went on the tree year after year.  And silver icicles.  Lots and lots of icicles.

The little girl could not wait for Santa.  Her room is just down the hall - the pink one of course. She was so excited she could not sleep a wink on Christmas Eve and who was up before dawn on Christmas morning.  Santa always passed and always went above and beyond.  Roller skates. Bicycles. Barbie Dream House.  Atari.  Games and dolls and toys galore.  Happy times indeed.

The emptiness echos down the hall to the empty bedrooms.  Once there was a little family of three that lived here.  Then there were two, then one.  Now no one.  The house was once jammed full of furniture and clothes and papers and dishes and nick nacks and in general a forty year collection of clutter.  Bit by bit, one drawer, one cabinet, one closet at a time it all has been sorted through, sold, given away, or disposed of.  A lifetime of belongings and memories silenced just like that, as if none of it meant anything at all.

It may not be my home anymore, but it is my house of memories.


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