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The House That Built Me
I starred blankly out the window as the taxi drove past the oh to familiar neighbourhoods I knew once upon a time. When I thought the world was one block wide and the worse thing that could happen was falling off your bike and skinning your knee.
"Miss, we're here." The taxi driver said, driving me out of my thoughts and I looked up at the familiar white house.
"Thank you." I said quietly, smiling weakly and he nodded.
"Would you like me to wait, Miss?" he asked and I shook my head.
"No, that's alright." I said as I handed him is fare and slid out of the taxi, gripping the small 4 by 6 photo in my hands before taking a deep breathe. This is it, no backing out now. I came all this way, I have to do this. I started walking up the familiar steps and smiled as I saw the tiny hand prints still visible in the smooth concrete of the front steps. I bent down and traced my fingers along the edges of the smaller set before placing my hand flat in the larger set, fitting it perfectly to the dents my mothers hand had left in the wet concrete many years before. I smiled at the memory that came along with them. My dad spent hours flattening the concrete for the steps and just before it dried my mom and I snuck over and pressed our hands into it. My dad was so furious, but he couldn't stay mad at us. He said that they added character, the perfect touch, just what they needed. I looked back up at the front door and took another deep breath before I walked up the last step onto the porch and knocked on the door.
I glanced back down at the picture as I heard footsteps crossing towards the door.
"Can I help you?" a woman with long blonde hair asked after she opened the main door. There was a screen door still separating us, but I could clearly see the apron she was wearing and the mixing bowl she was holding. I smiled after seeing the resemblance to my mom, even though this woman looked nothing like her.
"Ma'am, I know you don't know me, but I grew up in this house." I said holding up the picture for her to see. She glanced down at the image of my mom and me sitting on the very porch I was standing on when I was about 6 years old.
"The hand prints on the steps are mine and the room upstairs that was painted to look like a meadow when you bought the house was mine. I was just wondering...if I could I come in for a minute. I promise I won't be long, and the only thing I'll take is memories. It's just, lately I've been feeling…like someone else, and I was thinking...hoping that maybe if I came back to this house, to my childhood home, I might…find myself again." I said nervously and she smiled a typical motherly smile.
"Of course, come on in sweetie." she said opening the screen door and holding it open for me to come in. She walked back to the kitchen and continued preparing what ever dish she was making. I walked down the hall to the back porch and opened the glass door, walking out and looking at the back yard. The large weeping willow was still standing in the corner of the yard and I smiled at the familiarity of it's branches swaying in the seasonal breeze. I walked down the porch steps and walked over to the tree. Ducking under it's branches I walked around to the backside of the tremendous trunk and traced my fingers along the white heart and the initials inside SC+MM. I smiled at the memories of us, long ago and far away. Caught up in a summer romance we swore would last forever. I walked back to the other side and bent down by the roots. RIP COOPER was carved into the rough bark above the spot where my dad buried my dog the summer before we moved.
"How's my good boy?" I whispered, touching the grass under the writing. Another guest of the seasonal breeze blew behind me, sending my hair flying and a smile to play with corner of my lips.
"That good eh?" I whisper chuckling to myself as I stood back up and walked back to the house.
The first thing I saw as I walked back in the back door, was the old wood stairway. I started up them and I walked straight over to the door across the fall. The Pink 'M' was still painted on the door and to my surprise, it still looked the same when I walked in. The floor was still covered in the green carpet my mom picked to look like grass, the walls were still the same baby blue, with the odd white cloud. There were still flowers painted at the base of the walls and the ceiling was still yellow. I walked over to the wall and there they were. The honey bee's my mom spent days painting on the walls. She always called me her honey bee, mostly because she said the sweetest thing there ever was, was honey.
I took one last look at my old room, taking in all the memories of nights spent doing homework and learning guitar, violin and piano. My mom loved music, she wanted me to learn as much of it as I could so I spent as much times as I could on it. I took out my phone and typed a message, quickly hitting send before walking around the rest of the house, taking in all the memories.
I walked back down the stairs and into the kitchen. It looked identical as well, like they hadn't changed a thing. I smiled at all the memories of my mom cooking at that very stove while I sat at our kitchen table and watched in amazement. I always wanted to be just like her.
"Thank you so much for letting me into your home." I said and the woman turned and smiled at me.
"You're welcome sweetie. I hope you got what you came for." she said and I smiled weakly.
"I did, thank you." I said before walking back towards the door. I walked back down the steps, looking back up at the old house before walking down to the road. As I got to the curb, an all to familiar truck pulled up and I opened the passenger side door.
"How'd it go?" my boyfriend asked smiling at me, and I smiled back.
"It went good, our initials are still on that tree." I said chuckling and shaking my head.
"That's kind of the point, Megs." he said chuckling as he grabbed my hand. I expected him to start then engine, but he stayed parked at the side of the road.
"You see that?" he asked pointing to something out in the front yard. There was a For Sale sign sticking up from the grass with a giant orange SOLD sticker taped from side to side, how did I not notice it?
"Yeah, why?" I asked looking back at him and he smirked.
"Guess who owns this house now?" he said and I shrugged.
"Some family with 2.5 kids and a dog." I said and he smirked.
"Maybe some day, but for now, I do. Well WE do." he said and another smile pulled at the corners of my mouth.
"You bought my house?" I asked and he nodded.
"For us, for you. It's the house that built you, and I can't see us making a life anywhere else." he said and tears started pooling in my eyes.
"Thank you." I whispered.