My conscience has always been that of a sensitive one, an imaginary phenomenon that constantly produces very real effects on me. I have an easy time putting myself in other people’s shoes simply because I find that I’ve already tried them on just by making eye contact. My pity is spread world-wide, and generally the nicer I am to you, the more sad your life makes me. I have a personality with jagged edges and a sandpaper surface, full of blunt observations and the lengths I go to to ‘keep it real’. This is who I am painted to be on the exterior, but underneath I am gelatin, a puffy glob of tears and sympathy that plague me everywhere I go. I am reminded of this more than ever when I think of the house where two girls who rode my elementary school bus were picked up and dropped off. I heard stories of their lives, that of which they spared no detail, tales of spousal abuse, drinking problems, and things that horrified my nine year old mind. I pitied them, and wished desperately to do something, to offer them a friend or an ear, but I was promptly denied. They instead made fun of me, told me I was naive, in so many words, and insulted my genuine attempts. I felt awful and ashamed, but rationalized that if I had such a hard life I would be a bit grouchy as well, so I moved on. Day after day, the seasons melted together, and I watched them get on and off at their beautiful yellow house. The house was always remarkable to me, it was a pale yellow that was framed by white trimming and outlined in blooming flowers that dotted the ground below, a wonderful accessory to the neighborhood, a wonderful accessory to the slightly tarnished lives the two girls lived. I was happy for them, they had a house that was nicer than my own, and grandparents who cared about them, at least. That was something. They always possessed that to me, until one day when they were late getting on the bus. I watched as they ran from behind the house, not from the inside, which baffled me as to why they would be playing in the back yard at seven thirty in the morning. I peered through the glass as we pulled away to find that they weren’t on swings, or climbing any trees, there was a house behind the yellow house. The yellow house that was not theirs. A dingy trailer sat behind the opulent house, and stupidly, I remember crying. I was upset, because I had so wanted it for them to live in something so gorgeous. I was upset, because a parade of guilt fell upon me and I buckled under the weight. This feeling stays with me every time I drive by that house, and a pang of some feeling that is unrecognizable hits my chest. It brings up a memory that shattered me, and destroyed my naivety that they spoke so fervently of. To this day, I refuse to see their true home behind the pretty house, to me they are living in the windows of the yellow house frolicking in the back yard and climbing trees, especially at seven thirty in the morning.
The Yellow House
June 6, 2011