The House on Adams Drive By Erin Kilkenny

1 - Homesick At Home

I have two houses, and I’m lucky to have them. Some people have one, and some even have none. I am privileged, and I know it. Even more so that one of my houses is a summer beach house, which I love even more than here in MA. But even then, I know it should feel like home, but nowhere in particular really does.

Home.

Home is a construct that I have made up in my mind, not consisting of any particular house or place, yet where I have some of the best, and worst memories of my life. To me it is not where I live or a simple house. It’s the feelings, the memories.

The feeling you get when it’s Christmas Eve and the memories are so vivid you can physically feel the people who sat next to you last year, remember the once vibrant puppy eating a fake wreath. Where I can remember the feelings as if I’m reliving it. Home is where I run to when I want to be alone, memories. It’s when I run on the beach and make it far enough to be at the old house I stayed at with my grandmother who I miss. I remember the soda she hid under the stairs, the giant bed I stayed in when I was so sick and had so many canker sores that I couldn’t chew anything.

Home is taking midnight walks on the beach, listening to random music and dancing and singing like no one was watching. Where I feel safe, yet so alone. In contrast, home is also where I’m sitting on my couch, wrapped in a blanket, and I remember the vibrancy of all my friends together in the same room I’m alone in. The happiness bubbling inside me with every word that we belted out with High School Musical. Home to me is not just a place, and it probably never will be.

I find my home's in people, in feelings, and in memories, not just any random place, which leaves me just a very, very homesick person.

2 - Harsh Words

My name is harsh, two lone syllables that clash on the tongue. It has never fit me. Sure it’s a bit unique, but it doesn’t fit my characteristics. It’s too bleh. Too bland, not fiery enough, not flirty enough, and not nearly me.

Ironically, my name means peace, which I have never found with it. Finding peace with my name, and having a truce with it are two very different things. I understand it, being the only name that I have, and it understands me, being mine. But I in no way respect it.I feel as it should fit. It should, given it is the only name I have, but it doesn’t. I am a lock and the key fits, but doesn’t turn. Other people see it as me, but I don’t think my name is accurate.

I’ve never felt a connection with my name. I wish that I would have a longer name, a mold-able name. A name that I could play with, make it fit me, be able to shorten or change it. Actually even have a nickname. Now all I am stuck with is “Er” pronounced air, used only when people don't bother finishing. Making me feel like I'm not even worth all of the syllables, not worth that second breath.

3 - Deception in clarity

She has a pure soul and eyes to match. Green-blue-hazel-brown. No one word justifies their beauty enough. The two kaleidoscopes of color, different but equally beautiful. Both different mixtures of blue, clashing with an earthy brown around the pupil. Flecked with brown, green, grey. A collision of sky and earth, the colors muddled but sharp as night. Distinguishing her from others. The eyes wide open, always searching, perfectly fitting her face. Framed by a web of lashes, black as coal. Thin, wispy, bountiful, artful. Clarity is found within them.

She always sees the best in people through those eyes. She saw me, she saw me and accepted me. I will always be grateful for that, for a chance to belong. The first thing I noticed were those eyes looking back at me, inviting me in. She seemed so happy, carefree, something I would learn was quite a clever deception.

She was exceptionally happy, funny, free, but trapped by worries at some points. The eyes got muddier as worry clouded her mind. Which is why we connected. We helped each other get back to clarity, help each other clear our eyes. I could see through her facade, and she through mine.

We fit and she is one of my best friends, which all started because of those eyes.

4 - Broken wind chimes and memories

She didn’t want us to see her like that. Weak, helpless, in pain. It’s not that she didn’t want to see us, but she didn’t want us to see someone that we looked up to and loved so much, hurting that bad. We were so young. All I remember is that we didn’t get to see her that day, I’ve been told we did see her at some point, but I have no memories. All I remember is being told that there was going to be a conversation between the adults and that we should stay outside making crafts with someone who came to look after us. I didn’t know her, I didn’t know anyone in this dreary grey building. It reeked of hand sanitizer and over baked goods. It just seemed so wrong. I knew that she was sick, but I never thought it was that bad. You said you were fine. Emotionally maybe, but you’re physical condition was deteriorating faster than I thought, now that I look back. You never were one to show pain, only love. I made you a wind chime out of the plastic they supplied me with. I colored it with normal, crayola markers which eventually turned into watercolors because the tears would drip down my cheeks and onto it. The colors merged and eventually became a purple brown that I was so disappointed in. I wanted you to be proud of me for one last time, and you were. I think. I don’t remember. When everyone came out of that room their eyes were already dried, dried to keep us from knowing of the tears they’d shed, but we knew. I expected to see her. But that day we didn’t, and to me, we never did. That unfinished wind chime, it hung over you in your worst times, your last times. That brown, muddy, salty, plastic unfinished wind chimes. If I could, I would smash it, break it into a million pieces. Maybe get some closure. I miss you.

5 - Lights and love

In the city I feel free. I feel invincible and protected at the same time. With my friends, it’s almost euphoric. The cold nipping at my ears, biting at my ankles, staining my cheeks a bright, bright red. The happiness inside me bubbling up, keeping me warm from the inside out. This night was no different.

We were walking down Newbury St, people watching as we went. Shoni was bursting with the same excitement, and energy as I. We were so close to seeing the one concert that we’ve wanted to for so long, and we were so lucky too. At the end on Newbury, we took a left, we crossed two intersections, and we arrived. It was almost too good to be true, to actually have tickets at such a small, intimate venue. I could feel the excitement emanating from her, and I bet she could feel it from me... physically too, as I was jumping and could not stay still from excitement.

The wait was the worst. Waiting for the doors to open, and then waiting for him to come on. But from then, it was the best concert that I have ever been to. Every person in the venue crashed the stage, us included. I remember every detail. The striking crash of the symbols and broken glass, the drums beating at just the right tempo, his voice getting raspier and raspier toward the end. The lights were ever changing, and the show was amazing.

But the one reason I will always remember this concert is because of what happened after. It had gotten even colder since we first walked in, which was to be expected, but neither of us noticed it until after when we realized that we couldn’t feel any body part. I was, and am, so glad to have been able to spend the best concert of my life so far with the best friend that I could ask for.

We grew closer that night, if possible, and I walked back to the car with Shoni, with a previously unfound sense of belonging.

6 - When being wrong is a miracle

She was so calm at a time like that, 2 AM, hotel room, not a sound other than her footsteps walking back. The lock clicked and I heard it open, as well as my eyes. It was a normal day, the air felt cold. It was a normal day, a chill ran through my bones. Midsummer in upstate New York. Was it normal to feel this cold? Hushed whispers, adults talking. And the lights went on, and I pretended to wake up just then, not revealing I hadn’t slept a wink. Something was wrong, I knew, and found out. It was a normal day, vulnerable and powerless. You never think that tragedy will strike, not even in the darkest moments. It ended with hushed cries, a tangle of limbs gathering hope from each other. Scared together, of a life changing.

6 months.

Hope. The end was near, maybe everyone was wrong. A zebra in a field of horses is what she called herself. Benign. Best word to hear.

1 year.

Confirmation. With confirmation comes relief. With relief comes worry, worry that they could be wrong twice. Then comes the backtracking and thinking that it’s stupid to think this, I should be only happy, all good emotions, it’s okay, she’s okay, everyone’s good- right? Nothing is guaranteed in life, at least that’s what I see now. It ended all right. A short time of turmoil for the rest in peace. I love you.

7 - Dreary walls

She didn’t want us to see her like that. Weak, helpless, in pain. It’s not that she didn’t want to see us, but she didn’t want us to see someone that we looked up to and loved so much, hurting that bad. We were so young. All I remember is that we didn’t get to see her that day, I’ve been told we did see her at some point, but I have no memories.

All I remember is being told that there was going to be a conversation between the adults and that we should stay outside making crafts with someone who came to look after us. I didn’t know her, I didn’t know anyone in this dreary grey building. It reeked of hand sanitizer and over baked goods. It just seemed so wrong. I knew that she was sick, but I never thought it was that bad. You said you were fine. Emotionally maybe, but you’re physical condition was deteriorating faster than I thought, now that I look back.

You never were one to show pain, only love. I made you a wind chime out of the plastic they supplied me with. I colored it with normal, crayola markers which eventually turned into watercolors because the tears would drip down my cheeks and onto it. The colors merged and eventually became a purple brown that I was so disappointed in. I wanted you to be proud of me for one last time, and you were.

I think.

I don’t remember.

When everyone came out of that room their eyes were already dried, dried to keep us from knowing of the tears they’d shed, but we knew. I expected to see her. But that day we didn’t, and to me, we never did. That unfinished wind chime, it hung over you in your worst times, your last times. That brown, muddy, salty, plastic unfinished windchimes. If I could, I would smash it, break it into a million pieces. Maybe get some closure. I miss you.

Created By
Erin Kilkenny
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Created with images by Elstad Ranch - "untitled image"

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