I walk through the familiar house, the one I lived in as a child. My mother is in the kitchen, she’s making my favorite dinner. My father is sitting in his favorite chair, watching the evening news. My brother is in his room, playing with his toys. My sister is listening to her records and singing along. I remember the feel of the carpet under my feet. I remember the smells and the sounds of home. I remember feeling safe.
Years ago, all I wanted to do was leave. I wanted to grow up and live my own life. I didn’t know then, that life would never be the same again. I thought home would always be there. But the years have gone by and now it only lives in my memory.
I lived in the same house for twenty-seven years, from the day my mother brought me home from the hospital until the day I was married. Since then, I have lived in two apartments and two houses and yet, whenever I dream of “home,” that is the home I am in. In my dreams I am in my old house, sometimes in my old room. Sometimes, I stand on my front steps and walk to the street. I turn around and look back at my childhood home, the only home that is really “home” to me.
My father passed away thirty-six years ago. My mother has lost all of her own memories. Long ago, my house was sold to strangers. And yet, the echoes of my childhood ring in my ears. In my selective memory, home is all of the good things, without the bad. It is my jewelry box with the dancing ballerina, it is the needlepoint that my mother helped me sew, it is the workbench where my father fixed my broken toys. It is the place where I spent endless hours of sharing space with my family and friends who are all so far away now.
If I could go home again, just one more time, I would kiss my father and tell him that I loved him. I would coax my mother into singing and dancing to the radio, so that I could watch her being happy just one more time. I would play soldiers with my little brother and have a long talk, late into the night, with my sister. If only I could go home again.
http://www.theresadodaro.com Author of The Tin Box Trilogy