Thursday, March 3, 2016

Even a house can be lonely

There is something special about a house.

Many times in recent years, I've driven past the house my stepfather built for my mother and me, looking for more changes and marveling at the memories that flood through me every time.

The white fence around the yard has been gone for years, as has the flagstone walkway to the big front door. The wrought iron rail around the porch is gone too and there is a new second story and an enclosed back deck where only a concrete patio stood. I often wonder what the inside looks like, whether the massive Jersey stone fireplace Dad's friend built in the living room is still the dominant feature of the house.

Memories are mostly all good about my years in that house. And someone still loves it... fresh curtains adorn the windows and the yard is maintained well. One of these days, I'll summon up enough nerve to knock on the door, identify myself as a former resident and ask for a tour. I hope I will be welcome.

I spend a lot of time looking at houses. Realtor.com is one of my favorite sites and I like to scout out possible places to live if we ever decide to put our house on the market and move.

I even look at real estate in my old home town, picturing streets on which some houses sit.

When I was a junior in high school, my date and I stopped by his house for photos before the prom. It was a home filled with love. In subsequent years, his mother nurtured a spectacular garden alongside the house, complete with gazebo, in which many a local couple posed for photos after their weddings.

I remember the address of the house just like I remember my own, so when I saw it on Realtor.com last night, I was filled with sadness. Whoever purchased the house after that lovely family dissolved through death or distance had left it a ruin, in the hands of a bank, described as "once-loved."

I can only imagine that the garden was also a casualty.

Call me crazy, but the once-sweet white cottage with its lavish landscape, looked forlorn and broken-hearted. All vibrancy was gone and only a sad remnant of what it once was sat there in the photo.

I recalled all the days I pedaled by on my bike, hoping to catch a glimpse of the boy I loved since I was ten. All the days I wished for a big family... brothers and sisters with whom to grow up. They probably took that house for granted...their safe harbor from childhood troubles.

Now it belongs to no one. Still there is something special about a house. Even now.

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