The house I lived in was plain. Every house on our street was built the same way… some brilliant idea in the 1960’s apparently. Each house a clone of the one next to it. When you look at it from the front, you first see the white plastic siding and faded black (now gray) roof. It looks just like the one next to it. The only thing that makes our house different is the landscaping. Our lawn was the only one ever green on our whole street, given that all of our neighbors were in retirement and my mom and step dad were the only abled bodies adults on the block. We had about six hydrangea bushes, baby blue swallowing up the edges of the lawn. On the left of our house there was a small grassy path between the fence and the house that led to the back yard. For some reason this path was my favorite part of this house, always.
Growing up in and around the fence was a lilac bush that was about eight feet tall. The leaves of this bush were always such a dark green they looked almost black if the sun wasn’t touching them. The lilac smell was intoxicating. It was always swarmed with bees and as much as I feared and hated them, I found peace with them here under the lilac bush. My moms bedroom window looked right out at this path but she was allergic to lilacs so she always had the window shut and the shades drawn. I used to read books sitting on the 5 foot wide path between the front and back yards. No one came to look for me here. The smell calmed me, as it seemed to calm the bees who didn’t bother with me near the bush.
There were only 2 bedrooms upstairs and a tiny hallway above the stairs. Technically I had the master bedroom, but thats just because my mom had knee problems. She didn’t want to walk up the stairs. So I got lucky. Both room upstairs ended up being mine. One was my bedroom where I slept and got dressed or did my hair. The other room had my first computer in it and a playstation one, as well as a spare bed. Honestly I don’t remember too much more about the inside of the house. It holds a lot of bad memories for me there. I remember hiding in the semi walk-in closet in my room behind hanging clothes and stacks of shoe boxes when my mom was on her drunken rampages. No one will ever know how scared I was hiding in that dark hole. Hiding from your own mother is a completely different kind of horror. All I remember about my room is that is was purple and cold. I used to have to sleep with two large comforters. And I remember the inside of the closet.
I remember the kitchen was full of wood. Wood cabinets, wood panelling walls, and wood floors. Again, one of the brilliant design ideas form the 60’s. My mom had a bunch of those cheesy country hen knit-knacks with aprons and chef hats on. I hated them more than anything. She tried her hardest to make our house warm and inviting and all I remember is how the house had an intense despair, infused into every room. They appeared cozy and quaint upon first glance, but if you sat on the couch you realized it was still stiff. No one made use of this place. The bedrooms were each little houses in their own right. We hardly used the kitchen or the living room or the dining room. Our family was not much of a family. I stayed in my second floor retreat as much as possible.
The last thing I remember is the back yard. It was cornered in by the large barn-esque garage. Full, thick, luscious, bouncy green grass kept on the outside facade that our house was warm and lived in. A small fire pit sat in the dead center. Gardens of potato plants and some other plain green bush I don’t know the name of lined the fence all the way around. Right up flush to the back of the house was a cement patio with a glass table. Next to the patio was another hydrangea. There was a little nook of backyard behind the garage that you couldn’t see from the house. We had an old wooden bench back there that was falling apart, and a small rose bush in the corner of the broken wooden fence. This was the only part of the backyard that got sun in the afternoon. I usually spent most of my time back there, doing homework or listening to my very first iPod Video.
I didn’t like that house much. I haven’t been there in over 6 years. You know how most people miss their childhood homes or have fond memories of the house they grew up in? I am not one of those people. Looking back I can appreciate a few things about that house. But to me it never felt like a home. I had a room and a bench in the backyard. I didn’t have family dinners. I didn’t have family time in the living room at night or on weekends. I was honestly home alone most of the time. I relied on myself. The house was just a technicality. I lived there sure, but I was never at home.