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By @Val

I was taught to look at things in different ways-that this was the only way to see the world from points other than my own. See with your eyes, and then see again with another’s. You’ll find the view is not always so similar. The way I am looking at my house tonight is different than I have ever looked at it before. In this moment, my house is empty. In this moment, it doesn’t feel at all familiar. Tomorrow I will walk out that door for the last time. I will turn as I let the handle go, and I will see through the window glass that this is no longer my home.

What am I doing here at eleven forty at night? I should be at the new house, asleep in the room I put my bed in. But here I am, sitting alone on what used to be my living room floor; writing, thinking, and crying. Everything echoes in an empty house. That makes this even harder than it already is, but I am not ready to leave. This is something I want to remember. There are already a hundred arbitrary memories I’ve forgotten about this house. My last moments here should not be one of them.

I’m thinking about wind chimes, or maybe I’m just trying to be poetic.

I really am thinking about them now-about how strange it is that I don’t hear them. I used to listen to their song every night when I went to bed and on Sunday mornings when I’d wake up in my sisters bed, my ear at the window above our little collection. My mother would hang them off the back porch. She had large brass ones that made a rich, hollow sound-those were my favorites. She had little metal ones that chimed high and whose song never seemed to go still. There were wooden ones that clanked and rattled tunelessly, and a tacky plastic one that always got tangled in the high winds of passing storms. In the midst of them all were the ones I made with my sister when we were little; they were nothing more than odd pits and pieces strung together by chubby, unskilled fingers. These were my mothers favorites.

I didn’t know in coming here that I would be thinking about wind chimes, but something about them is what makes 308 Deerview Drive my home.

Where I’m sitting now is where I watched my first R rated movie.

Where I used to throw parties.

Where I played with building blocks and barbies.

Where I used to sleep when dad went on his trips.

Where I first got drunk.

Where I made my first successful batch of cookies.

This room was my nursery.

This one was where I moved to after my brother was born.

This hall was where I put my hand prints on the wall.

This was the room where I’d watch Jay play his video games.

This room was my pirates ship and I was Captain Jack.

And this room was mine. Where I read. Where I drew. Where I painted my nails and got in trouble for always spilling the polish. Where I made houses for my dolls in the old dresser drawers that I never put my clothes in. I woke up in the mornings to my mother’s singing. Good morning, good mooorning. What a great day today. I painted this room so many times. White. Yellow. Purple. Brown. Blue. I finally found the shade between grey and purple that felt right, and that is how I’m leaving it.

I carved my initials in the woodwork of my room. Not in a way that can be erased or wiped away. This is my room. This is mine even when I’m gone.

There’s so much I’ve already forgotten. Too many things I didn’t realize I’d never do again. My last shower. My last movie. My last breakfast-the real kind where my dad would wake up early on Saturday morning to surprise us with. My last girls night. My last thanksgiving. The last Christmas me and my siblings would spend in my bed so we’d all wake up together and run downstairs. I’ll never have another lazy summer day here. Another birthday. Another nap. Another cup of coffee.

I don’t want to go.

12:00. It’s tomorrow already. I look now at my childhood home, and for the first time I am seeing it as an outsider.

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