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The House This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

The house was full of memories. I had spent a lot of time there as a kid. I remember the large, thick rug that sat in the living room. It was here that I used to lie on my stomach, fiddling with the tassels that comprised the fringe, and watching TV or listening to my grandmother. I remember the white armchair with embroidered roses covering it like the canopy of a jungle. I remember the matching couch, and sitting in tired wonderment as the ball dropped on New Year’s Eve, my grandfather with a glass of champagne standing to make a toast to the New Year. I remember the screened in porch, with its yellowed wooden table where I sat with my grandmother on summer mornings while she, eyes furrowed in thought and muttering to herself grappled with a tricky crossword puzzle. I remember the long wooden dining room table where we had enjoyed countless delicious meals prepared by my grandmother, and before the meal, sitting in anticipation as the savory smells of dinner wafted in from the kitchen. It was in this living room, in that white armchair, that I had seen my grandfather alive for the last time.

The house that I saw that day as I stood in the living room for the last time however was not the one I remembered. The chair and couch were gone, the rug, gone, the table on the porch, gone. Everything was gone. Outside I could hear the fall wind blowing through the trees, the rustling of the leaves sounding like falling rain. The room was now bare, the empty hooks that had once supported picture frames sat like fossilized remains of decoration. In the white carpet, the indents from the furniture were like the chalk outlines of a dead corpse.

My grandmother had decided to move a few months before. When I heard that she had sold the house and would be moving out, I felt like she had sold a piece of my childhood. I had helped pack everything into boxes and as I worked it felt like I was boxing up memories, piece by piece. As I was loading a box into the car a small cardboard box fell and burst open. Inside was a pocket watch. The glass had shattered with its contact with the ground and the shards of glass sparkled in the afternoon sun like crystals on a chandelier. It was my great grandfathers, as I learned later.

When everything had been packed, along with its half a dozen memories with it, my mother and aunt left for the new house to begin unloading everything. I was left at the house for ten minutes while they made room for me in the car. I took full advantage of my time alone to take a final look around the place. Ten minutes is a relatively long period of time, the second hand of the clock completes ten full rotations. The hand moves six hundred times, in six hundred seconds. This is a lot of time, but I spent 15 years with this place, in other words over forty-seven million seconds. I now had six hundred seconds to remember forty-seven million.

I entered through the garage, walking into the kitchen with its large, cream colored counters and a central island where I remember eating with my grandfather. I passed the closet next to the door, the smell of which I will forever associate with him, as his coat always smelled of it. It was a deep woody smell, one that I cannot describe to my satisfaction, but I continue to remember with fondness. I continued on into the living room, and then through the empty dining room its dark blue walls seeming to match my mood. I continued into the hallway that leads to the stairs. I began to climb them, their thick light brown carpeting muffling each foot step. When I reached the landing I turned left, and entered my grandmother’s old room. I remembered my grandfather, his round jovial face in the doorway laughing showing me that he had accidently shaved off part of his mustache. When I think of him, I remember that moment more than any other.

From there I entered my grandfather’s office. He had been an engineer, and one corner of the room had been taken up with a large drafting table. It had been a large, steel contraption, and consisted of a single large podium that held it up and a movable flat surface that pivoted electrically from the base. I remembered playing with the table endlessly, using the wired remote to tilt it back and forth. The table had been gone for three years, but the indent in the carpet remained. It was here that my grandfather and I built almost twenty wooden boats. I still have them all.

This room was the hardest to leave. I remembered my grandfather here as we completed our final boat together. I remember him handing me the small, red and white tugboat and adding it to the shelf in the dining room. The cancer had taken him only a month or so later.

I left the office for the final time and headed back down the stairs. The sun was now shining through the windows of the living room, and I smiled. It was as it had always been. I could almost see my grandfather sitting in the white chair, smiling and talking to us just like any other day. I remember giving him a hug before we left; I broke it off quickly because I was scared of the I.V. tubes. I remember watching him as we left. I couldn't tell you what he was wearing, what he said, but I know for a fact he was smiling. That’s how I remember him, and I wish had had held, what turned out to be, our final hug a little longer savored that distinctive odor of the closet from his coat that extra second longer.

We had been worried about things being damaged while we moved, but as I got in the car looking at the light brown house, with its large front garden and it’s beautifully kept lawn, I wondered if the memories would make the transfer safely. Would they be like the sofa, chairs, pictures and cabinets and make it safely? Or would they instead shatter like the glass of my great grandfathers pocket watch and lie glimmering in the dying sunlight of memory for a moment, before fading forever from my mind?




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SilhouettesThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
today at 10:43 pm:
Gave me a lot to think about; or maybe reminisce as my grandfather was also taken by cancer. I can relate, nice work.
 
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