Light beams filter through the gap in the curtains, washing over my vision like a crimson tide. I stumble to the spare bedroom and peer out the window. A gigantic McMansion looms over me, looking out of place in our neighborhood of humble summer cottages. The tasteless structure is a constant reminder of the fact that we could’ve lived there. I would’ve had the typical girl-child dream bedroom on the top floor with a canopy bed and Disney princess theme would’ve run amok. I envision this bedroom, still with a twinge of longing, though I am too old for Disney princesses now. But when I think of all the memories that would’ve been left behind in my childhood home, I’m glad we sold the lot.
I return to my room and stare at the dust formations that have collected on the smooth mahogany of my bedside table and I see uncharted constellations, ominous clouds on a lost summer day, endless patterns of molecule touching molecule. The ancient childhood curtains still loyally hang. Outside the window, the ocean whispers its constant, unchanging melody of water caressing. Breathing in, I taste salt and smell snowflakes. Random bits of viscera from snowmobiles and cars litter the yard and the dust from the road is frozen solid by winter’s merciless chill.
Walking through the narrow hall, my eyes take in all of the innocent dents that pepper the soft, white. I frown slightly at the scratches in the bare wooden floor that are the result of having four energetic dogs pent up in a small house. Warm light glows from a lamp in the living room. Fresh cigarette smoke stings my nostrils, though I should be used to it by now. The dogs are all curled in their respective “beds” (meaning the end of the couch and on top of the heating vents). I pass Carly the couch dog and she groans slightly in her state of half consciousness.
I feel as though everything in our house has a voice that is just a few decibels too low for us to perceive. Every pile of magazines is shouting a slew of insults at my mother for making them feel so useless, begging her to throw them out. The table is complaining of lower back problems. Boots in every corner are snoring gently through their toe-holes and the fridge pleasantly hums itself to sleep. All of the memories contained in these seemingly meaningless planks of wood and strokes of paint seep out and color the house with our humor, sadness, anger, and love.
These walls have absorbed the shock waves from our screaming voices, they’ve seen my first steps, they’ve watched us grow. I can’t imagine ever leaving this. I know that objects shouldn’t mean so much, but I believe that our habitats help shape who we are. I know in my heart that our house on Gooch Avenue will always be home to me.
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