lincoln avePosted: 18/11/2009
these sunny november days have been filled with longing.
my parents have lived in the same home for 33 years. they bought it from its original owners, restored it, refurbished it, renewed it. i imagine there is not one square inch of that house their fingerprints have not etched:
they tell the story of refinishing the pantry, which was painted a bright pink when mom and dad moved in. today, it is stained a honey glaze they chose together some 30 years ago, and bits of the pink paint can still be glimpsed in between cracks in the wood where their tools and their stamina couldn’t reach.
they also nailed shut the door to the laundry chute, which by some architectural genius is in the floor of the bedroom hallway. mom and dad were afraid my brother and i might toddle past and fall the two flights to the basement below, where the chute abruptly ends.
a piece of me feels that my mother will never leave the back sleeping porch where my brother and i and she slept on hot summer nights. my father will always remain up on the third floor, laughing and watching david letterman with the dog, creaking down the stairs, taking care to be quiet. my brother will always skip down the block to the sports collection, and i will continue sneakily reading by the hallway light outside my room, well past my bedtime.
tomorrow night i will sleep for the last time in my girlhood bedroom, in my sweet four-poster bed. the wallpaper is gone, as are the old curtains. but i will look out the window thursday morning to a view i remember well, into a chilled, pale morning sun. a stop sign, a childhood bus stop, a stately house, naked branches, a neighbor’s front porch.
when is it that looking into the future started to feel more and more like looking into the face of death?
at 27, my life is still so un-lived, so much to do and to be and to discover, but the absence of this house will cement my childhood into a memory only. so many of us have acted out this step, and with far less grandeur than the play i am giving it now. but this house! this house is my parents’ healthy young bodies, it is my brother’s blonde curls, it is my aging bassett hound, it is my teenage dreams, it is my 1987 jeep cherokee, it is my home, it is our family.
someday soon i will learn that my family resides in my parents and my brother and even in my self, and not on lincoln avenue. until then, i am going to richly mourn this beautiful old house.