It’s been years and years since the last time I’ve been here.
The house is different. I stand just outside the white iron wrought fence surrounding it.
They clearly renovated it. No, in fact it looks like they actually took the old house down and built a new one. The chipping white and red paint on the walls are now a light pastel shade of blue. The crumbly brick walls were clearly taken down and are now replaced by smooth cement. The sin of the roof that had rust in some places, which sometimes caused the leaks, had now been replaced. A shiny, new, dark blue colored roof is now in its place. The window panes are pure white now instead of the dark brown they were before. The windows are bigger than I remembered; they probably changed them too and made them larger. The lawn was well maintained, a lush green with no weeds in sight.
All in all, it was a really neat and nice looking house. It just wasn't my house, not anymore.
It stopped being my house a long, long time ago. A lot has changed since then.
It has probably been about two decades or more since my family moved out of this house, and out of this city. More than two decades since I last saw my father. More than two decades since I last felt true bliss and childlike happiness.
I had a lot of precious memories in this house, some I regrettably don’t remember personally but only through the endearing anecdotes my mother sometimes brings up during dinner time.
This wasn’t even the house we lived in before, and yet I still feel a sense of nostalgia.
Maybe it was the gentle breeze, or the leaves falling from the trees that lined the sidewalk, or the warm sunlight and quiet atmosphere of the afternoon, or maybe it was just the whole ambiance of the place, the whole scenery. Still, I welcomed the feeling.
I tear my gaze away from the house and set out towards the park; lest the inhabitants of the house peer out the window and notice the strange lady just standing outside their home and think that I was some stalker. I wouldn’t want the cops called on me.
I greatly enjoyed the walk going there.
The park was deserted. And so was the playground. I guess children now a day’s aren’t that interested in playing outdoors.
Everything was smaller than I remembered. The swings and seesaws were too small and too low for me now. The monkey bars that I used to be so scared of doesn’t look the least bit intimidating. The slide that felt so high up when I was little is just a foot taller than me now and isn’t a cause for concern.
What could be a cause for concern though at the moment was that there were no chairs or benches nearby. I guess they demolished the ones when I was little, which were so weathered down and crumbly that it would lose a little piece every day. I don’t know why they didn’t replace them though. I don’t have anywhere to sit right now, except if I choose to either just sit on the grass or perch myself on the steps of the slide.
I chose the slide.
The breeze blowing was calming. I take a deep breath, slowly let it out, and just take in the sights while letting the sounds of nature wash over me.
I really needed this vacation
I wasn’t supposed to go alone though. That wasn’t the plan. We planned to take this trip, my boyfriend and I. Well, ex-boyfriend now. It was supposed to be a semi-spontaneous road trip, just the two of us. Well, right now it’s just me.
I guess you never really know a person, despite knowing them for some years. Scamming and tricking people is never nice, it the extreme opposite of nice.
His life is all fine and dandy right now though as I heard that he has got someone new. Good for him I guess. At the least, I’m not involved with him anymore. And I also get to go on this trip. There was no way I was wasting this opportunity, I plan to make the most of this trip. I’ve wanted to go on a road trip, and visit the place I grew up in, for a really long while now. I would have stayed with my lola if she was still here.
There was a group of trees to the right of the playground. That place was my sanctuary when I was still a child, especially during the days after my father was gone. It was my childhood hide out and my special base. I would play house there a lot of times. I wasn’t the most social kid, so I always went here instead of playing with the other kids.
It was my shelter.
There was one particular tree that I liked. I would always sit by the base of it and pretend I was in another place, my own place where there could never be any sadness. It brought comfort, especially to a lonely child. I even had a secret knock, which was the password that would transport me to my special imaginary place. There I had friends I could play with all day. We would go on adventures together, tame dragons, find treasures, travel far and wide, get rich. I was a fun way to entertain myself when I was little.
Right now, that group of trees looks really inviting, as the sun shining on me from where I sat on the steps of the slide was getting too hot. There leaves provide a shade for me to hide under.
I wander around them, until I find my tree. It still looks the same, though maybe a little bit bigger. I sit by it like I did so many times as a child. This really brings back fond memories.
I decide to do the secret knocking code for entering that I used to do, just for old times sake.
Ta-ta-ta-tap ta-tap tap
I know no one will answer, it was all imaginary, all but the mystical whims of a child.
But then a nose, sniffing, peeks out from behind one of the roots. A tiny voice then squeaks, “Ally? Is that you? Have you come back?”
It dawns on me then, this was what I missed the most.