For most of my adult life I have dreamed of this house. No matter where I am or how long I have been living there, it is always this particular place where my dreams begin and end. For good or ill, this is the spot that my subconscious must believe is home.
From the ages of eight through eighteen I lived in this house. Ten years. I don’t remember very well the home I lived in before this one, and all the places after have become a blur on my timeline, but this house, this time in my life is the foundation upon which my dreams build.
I can’t say it was much better looking than in this photo from a few day ago, but I’d like to think it was, just a little.
My sister, on her way to visit me last weekend, convinced her husband to drive through our old neighborhood. As they slowed to pass our childhood home, it became clear to them that the house had been neglected for quite some time now, and once they stopped the car and walked up for a closer look they could see that it was indeed in foreclosure. My sister skirted the side of the house, peeking in windows, running her fingers along splintered doorframes.
The sliding glass door in back was ajar and without a second thought, she slipped inside.
I don’t know if I could have done that. My childhood, though incarnations of it show up in dreams on a regular basis, is something I’d like to leave behind. I don’t know that I could have faced whatever ghosts lingered in those halls. Worse, then, to feel nothing looking at the handprint stained walls, the kitchen from which I stole snacks while I read Harriet the Spy? I don’t know and I don’t think I could bear to find out.
My sister is very brave, but I would rather hear the tale secondhand, and continue to dream of a place that used to exist, rather than see it for a faded and broken and beaten thing that no one wants anymore, never to appear in another little girl’s dreams.