home is where the heart is

December 1, 2011
I walked up the familiar path that led me to the front door, the huge pale verde tree almost poked me in the face with its long extending branches. The tree was planted in there shortly after we moved in, and had grown to a monster of a tree. As I reached in my pocket for my keys, I eyed the tan metal security door. The smell of cigarettes suddenly traveled through my nasal passages as I walked inside. Closing the front door behind me, I noticed my dog sitting in her bed on the floor of the living room. Her ears were back as though she was happy to see me. I thought to myself “An unfamiliar feeling, a feeling that I was loved and that someone was actually happy to see me.” I set my overstuffed backpack down on the hardwood floor and continued to advance through the living room, listening to my footsteps until I reached the hallway that met in between the dining room and the living room. I quickly glanced over at the dining room table that was filled with the household collection of unpaid bills, unopened mail, and expired coupons. I turned my head away and just thought “What is new? Same old stuff, just a different day.”.

Looking into the mostly white kitchen, which was often called “The heart of the home”, I saw that my mom had left me the typical bright post-it note that said something like “Have a good day. Love you, Mom.” I wandered over to the fridge just like the typical teenager, curious to see if any edible items had been added from what was already in there that morning before I left for school. Turning around, I noticed the usual sink full of dishes hunting me down, literally begging me to be washed. Typical me, I just turned away from them, knowing my mom would yell at me for that later. The note that was sitting on the counter caught my gaze again, as I reread it, noticing my mom wrote the bottom that she wanted me to take the clothes out of the dryer before she came home. I sighed, thinking to myself “I might as well get this done and over with. I do not see any sense in intentionally making her mad.” The laundry room was filled with a basket full of unsorted and dirty clothes. “What a nice way to start off the afternoon.” I mumbled. Lazily I opened the dryer door as it made its annoying squeaking noise, I felt the clothes stare at me. I grabbed as much as I could, not wanting to go back for another trip, and brought them into the living room, letting them lay on the dark chocolate brown couch.
I looked at the clock on the cable box that read “three fourteen”. It was time, time to go to my sanctuary, where I felt as though nothing could harm me, my bedroom. As I walked down the hall, I traced my fingers along the familiar pattern of the oddly textured wall. Once I reached my destination, I leaned on the door leading into my bedroom, attempting not to fall anything. My hand gripped the knob, turning it as my dark room greeted me. Dragging me feet across the floor I managed to make my way to my bed, trying not to drift off to sleep. After laying there for a few minutes, realization had set in, the fact that I should most likely be doing something a bit more productive. I rose from my comfortable bed, not wanting to get out of it in the first place, and casually walked out of my room and continued to drag my feet down the hall. Listening to the sound of the familiar footsteps, looking at the many pictures on the walls and the photo albums that filled the book cases, I finally reached my moms room, where I just stood awkwardly in the doorway. I peered around the bedroom. The painted pink walls were something that I would never learn to live with. My dog pranced into the room, over to the back door, waiting for me to let her out in the backyard. So I did not have to listen to the constant barking of her, I headed towards the back door. First unlocking the top lock, then the bottom, the door flew open as a gust of wind rolled inside the house.

Standing in the backyard, just my dog and I, the memories from the last thirteen years of my life replayed numerous times in my head for the next few minutes. It seemed like it had all gone by way too fast. As I looked at the patch of dead grass on the ground, I remembered the tree that had been there years before, along with the tire swing that had been attached to the once living tree. Even if the tree was no longer there, the memories of my dad pushing me for what seemed like hours on the tire swing was still there. The metal patio dining set sat on concrete slab, dust and all. I pulled out the chair, listening to the familiar sound of the feet of the chair, scraping against the ground. I sat down and began to rock myself back and forth in the chair, still reminiscing of all the memories I was unfortunately going to have to leave behind along with the house. The home that my grandparents had given to my parents, the house that I had practically spent most of my life in. Unfortunately that was the day that I realized, I could no longer call this place “my home” or even call my bedroom “my sanctuary” anymore. I was going to have to find another place to call my own, another place to make new memories with my family.

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