Never the same again

By Melodee

This afternoon, my husband drove our mini-van past a beige house with a tall evergreen tree crowding the front lawn.

“You should take a picture,” he said.

“I can’t take a picture. The people living there would think we are so weird!” I said. Besides, I don’t need a picture to remind me of that house, the place where I spent the longest stretch of my childhood. When I was only twelve, I walked through that house before the drywall was hung. I gave the reaI-estate agent the keys when we sold it in 1991. (We’d inherited the house after my dad died.)

I can picture the long hallway with four bedrooms lined up, the sunken living room, the long kitchen island where I cut out the taffeta to sew my wedding dress.

I can never walk through that front door again. The house doesn’t belong to me. Those endless adolescent days vaporized into hazy memories.

Weirder yet is the fact that the only child riding in our mini-van was our youngest child, a seven-year old girl who is eager to be thirteen. We were on our way home. We’d just spent the weekend with friends at their lakeside house where our daughter jumped from the roof of the boathouse into the frigid water below without pause. She frolicked in the lake, clung to a raft as the speedboat raced across the rippled water, and rode the Wave-Runner with my husband.

Our other children were absent.

The teenagers were at a music festival for four days.

Our twelve-year old stayed behind to celebrate his friend’s birthday at a slumber party.

I glimpsed our future, a future with a quiet backseat, a future where the children are grown, a future where our paths diverge and grow distant.

One day, some other family will live in this house. Our kids might drive by, staring, remembering, just as I drove by my childhood house. They will move on.

And maybe they will wonder where the time went and marvel how things are never the same again, just as I do today.

4 Responses to Never the same again
  1. Elizabeth
    July 26, 2010 | 12:02 am

    I still drive by our old house every time I’m in my hometown. I’ll probably never get to be inside of it again, but I’ll never forget every little detail about it and the wonderful childhood I had there. I want that for my kids!

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