Cats and children would run down the long hallway
The children sliding sharply right at the end
Before careening onto the porch and into mom’s garden
Where she assured them
There was an entrance to Narnia
If only they could find it
As they grew they changed their trajectory
From the garden to the fridge
Conveying forbidden snacks
Up the stairs, more sedately,
but not less noisily retreating
Into teenaged aeries away from grown up eyes

The house had stories, well, two and a basement
But stories as well, tales, myths, memories
Of a family there more than 30 years
Of the secret room in the basement
Where the Christmas presents hid
And an attic filling up with childish detritus
And clothes outgrown in height, or girth

Til life obliterated
The growth marks on the kitchen wall
The stickers that had to be scraped
From a little girl’s bedroom wall
Forgotten magazines, contraband,
Gathering dust under a teen boy’s
Long-abandoned bed
The graves of dogs and cats
Buried in a Narnia
That only the family could find

They tried to cede it to another memory making family
But four years and three sales later,
Its character was lost
Memories interrupted never formed
Just another house
Staged in neutral colors
Sale after sale after sale
No one there long enough
To mark the children’s growth
On the pristine walls

for the dverse prompt of 5/4/21: the narrative voice
Here’s the last time it was on the market

19 thoughts on “A house

  1. I felt this, having spent my childhood in one place then having moved around a lot ever since. How all of this magic can be wiped away is sad, but I hope it lives on in the memories of those who shared in it!

  2. Such are the memories captured in the walls of old houses! This is a fascinating read, and that last stanza is so touching!

  3. Life moves on. But houses bear the markings of history and stories of families. It is sad when its just another house for sale with pristine walls.

    • The walls absorb the character of the people there for a long time. When no one’s there for very long, it’s just a hotel.

  4. Oh my heart, this is so very moving! I especially resonate with; “From the garden to the fridge conveying forbidden snacks/Up the stairs, more sedately,but not less noisily retreating Into teenaged aeries away from grown up eyes.” 💝💝

    • I often look at the stuff I’ve got and wonder what my kids will make of it. They’re very disconnected and casual about family history and it pains me that these invested objects will just be stuff they need to pack away in too many boxes.

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