I drove by that house today.
No matter the time of year or time of day that I pass that house, I see it in sepia.
I see the story of the house more than I see the house.
I was in that house before. Many times.
And I know the story.
Because he told me. While standing among molding and disintegrating books piled as high as I was tall. Where mice burrowed between the covers, in the pages they shredded. He told me while I stood looking at the kitchen sink that was teetering on the rotting counter. While we stood on the slanted and unsupported floor. I would look at the ancient kitchen table while he spoke, and try to decipher all of the items that had collected there over the years. He told me when we stood in the living room that held his twin size bed, that appeared to have walls of stuff built around it. We stood. In his house.
And, he told me.
As he spoke…. he filled my imagination with his reality. And his love for this place.
I could see ….
He moved in on a snowy Christmas Eve when he was five years old. With his parents and one sibling. It was dark. The snow was deep and heavy. They were happy coming home. He remembered it to me well.
It was a different world. A world I’ll never know but for the words and stories he shared.
He smiled remembering it to me. I smile when I think of him, and his stories. I remember the facts he told. And I recreate the scenes of his life. In that house.
He moved in young, to this house.
He loved his parents from this house.
He lost his parents from this house.
He went to school from this house as a child.
He went to work once he was a child no more from this house.
He went to war from this house.
He returned from war, changed, to this house.
He lived as family in this house.
He lived alone in this house.
His youth was spent in this house.
He found old age in this house.
He died old, in this house.
He was kind in this house.
He was gentle in this house.
I am reminded of him every time I pass that house.
I tip my heart to that house every time I pass it.