Sometimes, A House Is Just A House
Sometimes, a house is just a house.
Sometimes, a house is a lot more than just a house, and if houses could talk, mine could have told the story of my entire life.
In the fall of 2017, at the age of 23, I moved out of the house I grew up in, and shortly thereafter my parents sold it so they could relocate early to the property upstate that they’d intended to be their retirement home. The house was purchased by a family that, our neighbors speculate, doesn’t treat it as well as we did. And why should they? Certainly the house hasn’t treated them as well as it treated us for as many years.
I met the wife and mother of the family briefly, and I remember saying to her, “I hope it’s as good to you as it has been to us.”
I should’ve said, “I hope you’ll cherish it as much as we have.”
Every day, I think about my house, and I still long for it, though I have no claim to it now. I never even tried to stake my claim on it, and therein lies my regret: I know my only option to keep it would’ve been to buy it from my parents, and I know I never could’ve afforded to do that. But I regret that I never made the effort to even look inito that as an option.
I moved just ten or so miles away, and I return to that neighboring city often for appointments or to visit my grandparents, who still live just around the block. Sometimes, I drive around the block to visit my house, and I drive by it as slowly as I can, trying to absorb as much detail as I can of how it looks now. It looks the same, but it doesn’t. It isn’t the same.
I still think of it sometimes and refer to it in conversation as “my house” —even though it’s not mine anymore. It’s not my house anymore; it’s not my home anymore.
But it always will have been, and I will treasure that space that cocooned me in warmth and security and love and familiarity, as I walked, danced, cried, screamed, laughed, played, learned, and lived there.
I was just around the block yesterday for a dentist appointment, and I thought about driving by, and then decided not to. But it will always be there, waiting for me to stop by to remember it, and hopefully it is treating the new family the way it treated me: just like family.