Vignette 2: Leaving Behind a Life
I used to live in a house on Kiefer Ridge Court. It was deep in the suburbs of Saint Louis, Missouri, on a quiet cul de sac, in a neighborhood that was always too hot.
My house was white with brick siding. It had black shutters and big leafy trees in front that I used to pretend were my guardians at night. It was bright and airy inside, with big windows and butter colored walls. It was cozy, and it was happy, and most of all it felt like home.
Now I live in a different house. I still remember the day I had to leave Kiefer Ridge Court, though. It was in the thick of summer in Missouri. The air was so humid, you could feel the water on your skin. The movers had almost finished packing up, which was ironic. They had told us that we had so much stuff, we were lucky if it would all fit into the moving truck.
I was sitting in my room, in between the two windows that looked onto the street. Looking at the bare walls, and all that empty space that held so many memories. I couldn’t believe that this was it. I was leaving it behind. It still felt like I was drifting in a dream. But it was my reality, as delusional as it made me feel.
I still remembered having tea parties with my brothers where we ate chocolate chips and drank Koolaid, pretending we were rich people having tea together. There was a time that my best friend came over and we spent all night laying on the roof just outside my window, laughing and looking at the stars. I had experienced so many things sitting in that room. It was a place where I had cried many times and laughed harder than I ever had in my life.
My mom yelled for me and my brothers, because it was time to leave. She had yelled those words to us so many times before, whether it was for practice or school or church. But this time we wouldn't be coming back. Her voice cracked like a squeaking door at the end of her sentence, because we all knew that it was the last time we were leaving, ever.
And as we drove away, a tear slid down my face. The dream-like feeling of floating on a cloud of disillusionment completely went away and reality hit me like a ton of bricks. My heart shattered like glass and an avalanche of tears came out of me. My stomach dropped into a dark place and I felt like a tornado was ravaging the inside of my body. It was like I was holding on to someone’s hand and I couldn’t let go, but someone was pulling me away. The feeling was so intense because I didn't just say goodbye to a house. I said goodbye to my childhood that day. It was one of the hardest days I’ve ever had. But I know that even though I’ll never own that house again, it will always be my home.