I am silent as I pull into the drive, the house coming into view from behind the trees as I turn the corner. The final corner after a long, long drive. I am silent, also, as I make my way up the little path to the old familiar door, and when I put the key into the lock, I see that my hand is shaking. I pause, I lean my head into the comfort of the solid, stable door. Then, turning the key, I let the old hinges swing the door open.
The smell of the house is what would always strike me first, the musty, lived in, loved in smell of home. Stepping over the threshold, I’m in the kitchen, with the cans and the spices he hasn’t touched since she died, 23 years ago. And why should he? They haven’t been hurting anyone, after all. But now it’s time, time to clean out all the traces and time to let the gone things go.I cross into the dining room with our little old children’s chairs tucked away against the wall. How long have they stayed there, witness to the changes of the family? How many dinner-time fights and sleepless nights and leavings have they seen? No matter, I tell myself, no matter. I can’t bring myself to stop in the living room, i can’t stand to see the mirror so I fix my eyes to the old wood flooring and I hear the age of the staircase as it creaks under the weight of all I have on my mind.
At the top of the stairs, I turn to the right and go through the bigger bedroom, towards my own childhood bed. My eyes falling to the floor, I find an old letter block, an “H,” a toy handed down hand to hand. I kneel, grip it to my chest, and I sit with my back against the wall in the small small space. I sit with my little treasure and I watch the sun sink slowly into the earth, the shadows of our lives fading into the darkness.
See also The House