My earliest memory of that time is of a white door frame.
I remember looking straight into it, and there was nothing before that.
It was a white-yellowish color door. Maybe it was a kitchen door. Cannot recall.
Mother turned me around and pushed me against it. The door was dirty. She had a sharp utensil in her right hand, and I remember closing my eyes. I heard a scratching noise before she pushed me to the floor.
Not even now, being back to this house I can recall these marks on the door. It seems like I have never seen it before, yet I feel like I did. Strange how memory is formed, how selective it can be.
Back in the day life was not easy for a single mother. Or, let’s say, for an abandoned family. You see, back then, the family structure was created for the man to support the wife and children. When you take the man out of the equation, there is not much left to it. And when you understand Mother never intended to have children in the first place, well, you have a recipe for adversity, to say the least.
How many early memories are the same as mine?
There are many different height marks on the door, but no names to them. The names would have faded away by now, anyways. As did the children behind them.
The marks on that door today represent all the promised joy of life being scratched away.
Here I am once again, but this time to reunite with my ghosts, not to be haunted by them. You see, they never get away. They became part of me, and for as much as I wanted to get rid of them, they just do not disappear.
I love to witness spring blooming. To see the trees starting to slowly change colors and the flowers to be born again… It is something out of the ordinary. It’s magical!
I do see beauty in things, I believe so yes. I have moments of calm and contemplation, and I feel good feelings when I forget about everything sometimes. So, in a way, I am like you. I mean, most people probably feel this often, I imagine. Probably most of the time. Happy people running around under the sun, chatting, going places. Making dinner for their families, making summer camp plans, buying flowers for their beautiful houses.
I came here today to feel my past deep down in my bones once again.
It is not by choice. It is not a choice if you don’t have one.
The black-and-white existence I made out of life is no longer tolerable.
The ghosts grew bigger than me.
The house looks much bigger than I recalled.
There is still not much around it, just like before. And if I detach myself from the memories for one second, the surroundings even look pretty to me. Beautiful fields of green trees, flowers, and stones. Old house is in ruins now, but it didn’t change much from what I remember, the house was never taken care of before.
As I walk around today during twilight and see the fading sunlight coming in from broken windows on the second floor, I can momentarily hear the walls reverberating young laughter and joy. I can hear sweet whispers down the hall of children playing and singing silly songs to each other.
You can always choose to see the beauty in life, they say. All the self-help books and psychologists told me that, too. I believe they are right, they just forgot to tell me how to do it. I never knew how to.
Perhaps this is my problem. I never understood. Or was never understood myself.
In any case, the ghosts of my past never ceased to want room in me, for as much as I tried to leave them behind.
I came here trying to find peace, but all I can feel is sympathy. Sympathy for the young boy who once lived here and survived it, despite it all. And for all the others.
Peace is only achieved by redemption, and there is only one way I can find it.
I am now almost half-way through digging the hole in the decayed backyard, the spring sun is almost gone, and the birds stopped chirping. The rocky soil does not make it any easy on me, and I am not that young anymore. Aging has done nothing good on my face nor my bones, either.
Mother is now dead. The tears on her old, wrecked face have gone dry.
I dig in silence and enjoy the sound of the dirt being moved around, just as she has done so many times in the past.
I dig today in the name of my young self who survived, in the name of my many brothers and sister who didn’t, and in the name of those who I didn’t even get to meet in this life.
The digging sounds fade away and all I hear now are echoes of children’s laughter inside my head. Or are they coming from the house? I can’t tell.
Suddenly a good feeling take over me, a warm feeling or memory of joyful moments we children had between ourselves while living in this house.
That does not last long.
Quickly I am reminded that all the ghosts are present, and they are the reason we are here.
They make me not forget about what happened in the past.
And I keep digging.
With my face covered in dirt, I lay Mother on the ground and finally unite myself with all my ghosts for once and for all.
I take the old white door with the children’s height marks and place on top of her body.
I cover it with dirt.
I hereby bury Mother and all my ghosts along with her.
No graveyard, no name on a cross.
As if Mother never existed.
And I leave never to come back.