I never fell out. I jumped from its bottom floor into piles of leaves, piles we’d just raked.
We were told to rake and pile again.
I wonder how many times I went up and down these stairs. I hate to think what may have happened the day dad lost his footing and flew down, on his hind end, on the heels of my sister. They were steep and narrow. The only injury was a sore bum.
I wonder how many times I handled these glass doorknobs.
I wonder how many times I looked into this mirror, made silly faces with my best friend.
I wonder how many people smiled at dad’s choice of fire engine red on our bathroom walls.
I wonder how many times I washed dishes at this sink.
I perfected my pie crust, right here.
I wonder how many times I ran through this back yard, played on our long-gone swing set.
I wonder how many neighbor kids swam with us in our plastic pool.
I wonder how many popsicles I ate in this back yard, how many hours I spent slathered in baby oil, catching some rays.
I wonder how many hours I practiced on the high jump set dad made for me, right here.
I wonder how many hours I spent playing with this doll furniture.
Grandpa made our doll houses, mom made the curtains and put up the wallpaper.
I wonder how many times I turned our “chandelier” on and off before I was told to stop.
I wonder if anyone else knew this was my secret hiding place, in the attic.
Big people called it a closet, but it wasn’t. It was quiet, safe, and nearly no one else wanted to be here. Just me.
You tell yourself it’s just a shell. Just a place. It’s what you do when you have to leave for the last time, never to go inside again.
It wasn’t just a house.
I wonder how long it will take before it doesn’t feel like home anymore.