My grandmother inserts her favorite CD and pushes play. It was unbearable, hearing the same songs played on loop. Nowadays, I miss those songs more than anything.
When I was born, my parents, the rip ages of 23 and 27, stayed put in the convenience of my grandparents’ home, 90 Troy Del Way. An address that is composed with such a familiar ring. One that enters through my ear, rattles my brain, and aches my heart. The address is always spoken with a certain melody, in which you can suddenly smell fresh dew on the backyard lawn. It’ll roll off the tongue so bittersweet, followed by silence or a heavy sigh or nostalgic chuckles from others. Over generations, tons of people have shared the experience of 90 Troy Del Way, yet no one will ever share my personal experience. The chipped crimson bricks and prickly pine trees. The dark wooden door that grew smaller as I aged. The smoke-stained air of the garage where my grandpa would sit, contemplating what was on T.V. The kitchen where we sipped coffee that was far too sugary and sweet, eating apples late at night because my grandma was convinced they cleaned our teeth. The pool where I soaked in my youth and drenched myself in summer nostalgia. The biggest backyard you’d ever seen; where we would make our stupid films, compete to see who could swing the highest, make believe to be other people and prance around on the well-kept grass. The basement was like a museum, filled with my grandma’s paintings and objects from the past. My grandpa’s drum set sat in the corner, begging to be played. When he did play, we would twirl to the jazz, feeling the rhythm in our young bones. All the holidays spent, the whole family under one roof, knowing these moments won’t last forever. All the gatherings at the dining room table, mocking my grandma’s mispronounced words while ordering chinese food. All the laughs that bounced off the walls, as my grandparents bickered over something like salt and pepper. All of the sleepovers in my grandma’s bed, waking up to the smell of citrusy orange juice and sugary french toast doused in maple syrup. It’s hard for me to say that I can only picture the house in scattered flashes of memory. The hardest part is that with each year, I seem to lose a few, a memory my brain must have deemed to own no value. Yet I can still remember those that have no value at all: pricking my delicate fingers on the thorns of lush, magenta roses that strangled the teal gate, or sampling basil and chives that my grandmother had planted. Not only do I miss the house, I miss the neighbourhood. It’s like I was on the set of an ‘80s movie: my best friend at the time lived next door and the other lived right across the street. This meant constant, childish commotion. I miss the garage sales and the lemonade stands and the scooter races. I miss being young and drinking chocolate milk (mainly chocolate syrup and a splash of milk) in front of the fireplace. The memories are so sweet I can feel them on my tastebuds. Potentially, if I were to combine the memories that others have of 90 Troy Del Way, along with my own, I would never fear running out. I’d never wake up to remember nothing of the house I was born into, the house I dedicate most of my childhood to. 90 Troy Del Way was the only house I’ve ever lost.
Although I was living in a different house when my grandparents moved away, it was extremely difficult to adapt to that change, knowing that I’d never get more moments there or feel the house beneath my feet. I remember staring up at the ceiling as I lay on the hardwood floor, an empty space beside me where a brown couch once was. A moving truck lingered in the driveway. I squeezed my eyes shut and tried to hold onto the moment, to feel the house before I was dragged away. Before the house turned distant and cold. Before driving past it filled me with gloom rather than warmth. I wonder if I'll ever get this feeling back. If only it was possible to take back all the relinquished memories, now having nothing but value to me, and store them in the holes of my heart forever. The sun glistens, bordering my view like a vignette. I place the palm of my hand against the car window, watching the image of my childhood home fade slowly behind me.