Ghost House MAG

June 19, 2012
By Anonymous

I tread softly in my worn Converse, feeling like a stranger. There is new paint on the walls, new flooring in some places, and the smell of dust in every corner.

Don't think too hard.

I try not to remember what it felt like to live here. There's the board from the archway between the kitchen and the living room, torn from the wall, lying on the ground. There are dozens of lines – heights, markers, designed to remind me of how small I used to be. I see “Rachel” written in slanted, painstaking cursive next to a slightly crooked line. There is no date, but I know it's from second grade. I try not to remember touching it a thousand times, the smooth cylinder of a pen in my fingers, the way the grain in the wood made me write so slowly.

Don't count.

Two steps up into the room where I practiced my piano pieces for my first and only “real” recital.

Fifteen steps to the second story, my fingers trailing on the glossy wooden rail. I used to sweep these stairs.

Two doors to my siblings' rooms, then mine.

How long has it been since I lived here? I count on my fingers like sophomores shouldn't have to do. August, September, October, November, December, January.

Don't stop.

I open the door to my room. It's cold in here. I start to step in, but I have to stop, because the memories are so thick in the air, it's hard to breathe. Little specks swirl and drift in the slanted light from the late afternoon sun that filters through the half-closed blinds. If each speck was a memory ….

Don't look.

Before we were completely moved out, my best friend/boyfriend came to help move boxes. I see him, a little sweaty, sitting on one of the last boxes of my books, drinking orange Gatorade.

I see the folding chair in the middle of my room, the music stand and my new guitar from two summers ago.

Through the west window, I see my papa on his fourwheeler, herding cattle across the pasture while the pumpkin-colored sun swells and sinks toward the horizon.

Don't listen.

My little sister was sprawled out on my bed, declaring that she wanted to be “a Communist – you know, like on TV.”

“You mean a comedian, Shelly?”

“Oh … I did that on purpose!”

Don't cry.

Somehow, this is the only voice in my head that I listen to.

The author's comments:
I wrote this piece after walking back through the house that I'd recently moved out of. The memories were so strong, I could almost touch them. I wanted to capture the feeling in writing.

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