Sometimes, at night, I walk myself through the home I grew up in.
I’m like a ghost moving through the hallways, the rooms, walking the stairs, moving my way through the dining room, the living room, the kitchen.
I start by remembering the little bedroom me and my sister shared for the first 10 years of our lives. The little pink bedroom, right across from our one bathroom, where we shared both a room and a bed together.
I can still feel her little feet in my back on the nights she literally and physically tried to kick me out of that bed. I can still hear my dad’s footsteps coming down the narrow hallway, and lifting me out of bed and bringing me to my parent’s bedroom. Or lifting my sister.
I remember later, when my parents were ready to retire for the night, being carried back and being placed back into my bed, well, our bed. And when the morning came, waking up cuddled into my little sister.
We would laugh so loud sometimes. And we got in trouble on occasion. “Shhhh Julie.” “Shhhh Mandy.” I can still feel her tiny fingernails lightly scratching my back. We would take turns, but I would sometimes pretend I was asleep so I didn’t have to reciprocate. But not always. And during her nightmares, I can remember singing her to sleep.
I remember as we got a little older, I got my own bedroom in that house. But I remember still, my sister’s footsteps sneaking out to my bedroom. When she’d hit the one loose tile on the floor, and we’d both worry mom and dad would separate us. I remember as we got older, I’d knock on my bedroom wall, and she’d knock back. “Goodnight Mandy.” “Goodnight Julie.”
I remember when my dad built a new space on the end of the house. We finally had a second bathroom. There were 7 of us. We needed a second bathroom. And I remember when my oldest brother moved out. And rooms were switched again. Musical rooms. I moved downstairs. And I cuddled with my sister less often. We fought more often. Over socks, and clothes, and makeup…
I remember being a teenager in that home, and sweeping all the floors in the house. I would start in the porch, move into the kitchen, the living room, the hallway, down the 6 stairs to the landing, the landing where me and my brother fought harmlessly while my mother recorded us, to the final 6 stairs to the basement, the rec room, the hallway, the laundry-room…
I remember the power going, and me and my sister cuddling while my mom put this huge comforter over us. I remember the tip of my nose feeling cold, but feeling pure and total bliss. My entire heart feeling such warmth unlike any that I may have ever known.
I remember hearing the snow and the wind blast against the siding outside my bedroom window. The same bedroom window that we would try to catch snowbirds from in the spring. But the winter blizzards were amazing. To just lie in my bed, and feel the love within that home was all I ever needed.
I remember boyfriends, and sneaking in and out of windows, and dating. I remember having friends over, and my girlfriends. That home built me.
And if those walls could talk, I think they’d tell you they missed me. That they missed us. Because my Dad retired and my family moved. There’s another family living in that house now. Walking through those halls, sleeping in those rooms. And I am sure, they too are making beautiful and wonderful memories where I spent the first 18 years of my life, birthday’s and Christmas’s, summers, and falls, winters and springs.
Today, when my Dad was driving through L’Anse au Loup, he told me he was driving by our home. I asked that he FaceTime me so I could see. So I could see that house. So I could see once more, my home. And he did. I watched as he drove up the road where we played street hockey, and where I learned to ride my bike. I smiled while I talked to him. But after our phone call ended, I would be lying if I didn’t say I felt a small part of my heart felt a little broken.
A little homesick for a home that’s no longer mine.