I’ve always been the quiet type, never one to do the speaking, just listening and observing the lives of those around me.
If I can remember correctly, I began as a light blue, sheltering a newborn baby, Conner, I was covered in wallpaper lined by teddy bears with white silk bow ties like pin stripe pants.
Those few days before his birth in ’62 were filled with anxiety and anticipation, with his parents sneaking in to gaze upon my blue coat, tears in their eyes for the gift that they were days away from receiving. However, they would soon find that the young baby spent little time in my embrace other than evening naps, otherwise his cries became loud with the longing for his mum.
Six years later the teddy bears came down from the walls along with the crib, to be replaced by a bed, the baby blue coat replaced by a loud red.
Watching him grow, I saw his good days and his bad, he was built for math, fast cars, and jubilant laughter.
He had come to me in the midst of April when the flowers outside the windows bloomed, and left for a university after they flowered a mere twelve times.
Once again, his parents visited me, with tears in their eyes as if by being with me his presence would be restored.
His father had talked of a promotion he’d dreamed of, so with more money they were off to a more luxurious home, I was not sad, I was not lonely, I was happy.
I was alone for a while, while the wallpaper had been striped from me and I lay bear and exposed for quite some time, only briefly being introduced to new families by a smiling woman with high heels and big hair.
A group of four moved in, Tom, Adam, Lana, and Louisa. They painted my walls a bright yellow and carpeted my wooden floors, they added filing cabinets, desks, a white board, a telephone, and a book shelf that decorated my left side.
The boys were mechanics, around thirty years at the time, and worked strenuous hours. They bent over their desks re-drawing, re-scaling, and re-shaping until perfection.
Blue prints poured from their cabinets. The two girls owned a boutique down by the grocery store, I saw them less often, but they didn’t bring home their work, only their stories and their stress. It was a short acquaintance with the group, as their hearts were set on the big city and soon their paychecks were capable of supporting that lifestyle.
I was not sad, I was not lonely, I was happy for them.
The following year in ’88 a family of four moved in.
John, Ali and their twin girls converted me to a gym with barbells and some odd-looking mechanism called a “Bo Flex” used for hanging up dry cleaning and attracting the dust.
By then my vibrant yellow walls had faded to beige and my beige carpet had faded to yellow.
I don’t know much about those folks, as in-home gyms are more for decoration than utilization, I guess. The girls visited on days when the heat was unbearable in the Texas sun, running in with loud laughter as they let their weight thud into the ground. They sprawled themselves out on my floors making snow angels, in my warm, worn carpet. Oh, how I loved their attention!
They also left the windows open unlike Adam and Tom, so even when they weren’t around the sunshine kept me company. After fourteen years Bailey left shortly after Annie. I rarely saw anyone for a year or so after that.
The house became too big for John and Ali, and they decided to make the move to Florida that they’d always dreamed of.
The movers came and lifted the heavy weights from my creaking floors, but I was not sad, I was not lonely, I was happy.
The last person that came to live among my embrace was the eldest daughter of three girls. She and I became the closest of all prior inhabitants. Perhaps it was because of the frequent lack of happiness in her eyes, it was the only time I’d had an issue with my inability to intervene in a situation and speak as opposed to listening.
She left my walls there bare color, but adorned me with newspaper clippings and photographs. I was never lonely because her sisters looked up to her, never wanting to leave me, because they never wanted to leave her.
She was more imaginative than the young boy, and more precise than the mechanics.
The music she played was constant and expansive, from Sinatra and Coltrane to A Tribe Called Quest and the Rolling stones. It all correlated with her mood, causing me great joy when the tempo was fast, and depression in times when the dark music fell upon the room.
Her life appeared to be a struggle, as she often threw herself upon the carpet crying until late hours in the night. Only to wake up before the sun rose to write lengthy accounts of the inexplicable sadness she frequently experienced.
Soon she found the help that I was unable to provide with a therapist who visited her in the privacy of her own bedroom. The kind woman encouraged her to participate in activities beyond the confines of my four walls.
She had dreamed to be a psychologist, she wanted to help people, because she knew first hand how much some really needed it. And at age eighteen, that’s exactly what she set off to become.
She moved to Boulder the university she had written about and had wanted to attend for years past.
So I was not sad, I was not lonely, I was happy for her.
She doesn’t rest within my walls and doesn’t watch my flowers bloom, but the sisters, they often come back to visit and roll up the blinds to let the sun shine in, practice their own talents, and fall in love with their own dreams, I am not lonely, they don’t leave me. In fact, one of them is sprawled out upon my floor now, taking over her sister’s absence with a pen and paper of her own.
This is something I originally wrote a few years ago when my sister was leaving for school. I read it to her and allowed her to edit it. Since then I haven't been able to find the original version so she deserves proper credit for the part she did in touching it up as far as word choice, punctuation, and small additions and subtractions to my piece of work. I hope you enjoyed it!