Humans are incredibly nostalgic creatures.
The lengths to which we will go are incredible, when childhood memories or memorabilia are involved.
Why do you think vintage action figures are so valuable? Why else is scrapbooking a massively successful industry? People are terrified of losing themselves, as defined by physical and mental imprints on the world.
If you ask anyone what their first car was, they will be able to respond almost instantly. Most people probably still remember the first big purchase they made with their own money. Almost everyone has their first home address memorized, and home videos are full of “baby’s first things”. Sounds and smells and textures are all physical triggers in accessing memory banks.
Last week, I moved out of the apartment I’d been staying in for the past few months. I’d moved in with my best friend at the time, and we had been planning to get a house together when her lease expired at the apartment complex. However, over time, differing schedules and lifestyles created a good number of tensions, and there were several long, tearful conversations, where frustrations and personal affronts were discussed at length.
I don’t know about anyone reading this, but I never enjoy those sorts of conversations.
All in all, stresses were high, and something needed to change.
So change, it did.
In the space of an afternoon, months and years worth of planning, wishing, and dreaming culminated in my moving into a tiny, two-story house.
The roof needs replaced, the doors don’t quite seal all the way, and the floors creak when you walk across them.
The bathroom floor leaks into the kitchen if the bathtub gets a little too excited.
The back yard isn’t fenced.
The floors give you splinters if you drag your feet.
The windows stick, and most of them don’t open, unless they’re the ones that have been replaced.
But there are radiators in every room downstairs, rippling with heat, and providing a toasty seat to chilled bottoms.
The floors are a light, golden-brown hardwood, and when it catches the sunlight, it glows.
There’s a threshold between living room and dining room that to a seven year-old, embodies the glory and power of a thundering river. She will spend many years leaping across it, imagination aglow with the feat.
The stairway has a narrow ledge parallel the top half of it, and a ten year-old girl likes to walk along it and pretend a bottomless chasm drops away below her bare feet. She will stand at the end and curl her toes over the edge while she watches family members trudge up the stairs in a routine they don’t even think about.
The upstairs bathroom is bigger than the master bedroom, there’s a funny, slanted corner to one room, where there wasn’t quite enough room for both the stairs and the bedroom, so they had to share.
The closets are all at least six feet deep, and one of them was big enough to hold the world of a thirteen year-old as she dreamed about boys, wrote about fantasy worlds, and hid from the outside world under her blankets. The evidence is still scribbled on the walls, if you care to decipher the handwriting.
Now, a nineteen year-old lives in the master bedroom, stocking feet folded under her legs to protect them from the drafty cold. Boxes are scattered about the floor, and clothes are on the floor, for want of a better place to go. The rooms are empty and they echo, and the upstairs had to be aired out for two days to get rid of the stenches of cigarettes and pot that were lurking in the corners.
Tatty carpet pieces have been rolled up, explicit DVD’s discovered in closets, and floors scrubbed and refinished.
It’s been half a decade at least, but this blog post is proof that some dreams do come true, if you’re willing to wait.
I now live in my childhood home, and I don’t plan to be going anywhere soon.