I stood in the center of what had been our kitchen. No refrigerator hummed. No lights flickered. The faucet in the sink still dripped and its tympani resounded in the otherwise silence. And the realization hit me like a bag of ice. This was the day. The last day.
I inhaled, taking in as much of this place as my lungs could hold. Making last ditch memories of the aromas that lingered. The grease and delectable edibles that mother had provided to fill and nurture us. With my eyes closed I could faintly hear her voice in the place that was her home for longer than I could ever have hoped.
The dog’s dish sat empty. Her toy peeking from beneath the stove. The cuckoo clock intoning the passing of time, reminded me to get along with it. I followed the sound into the dining room.
The rug had been crisply steamed looking out of sorts for a house that held my five brothers and sisters, a Grand-father, and my parents. Not the worst for wear, hungry for furniture to repossess their positions; all a bad joke. I could hear my breathing loudly; the rest of our former home sat silent.
I peeked into Mom and Dad’s bedroom. Hoping to find their memory replaced by their presence, but only the essence of them lingered. I fingered the wall sconce; too elegant for our humble homestead. Into the living room I wandered.
Dad’s mural continued to hang on the far wall, framed and illuminated, offering a sense of peace in this harried visit. Paneled on one wall; faux brick on the other. Dad had his peculiarities. I will miss these the most.
One last stop. Into the double rooms my brothers and I shared. These memories hung the thickest. Recollections of talks and adornments that meant the boys were home and the world was right. But sadly, not tonight. Another chime; had another hour passed so quickly?
Nothing else to see. All memories stored safely in my heart and head. I pull the door closed behind me one more time. The wood made a solid sound. It was secured. Down the three steps to the back door landing, I’m standing inches away from never seeing her again. This door settles softly against the jamb. My hand clutching a hearty refusal to release the knob. My key slides in too easily; it turns too quickly.
I remove the key for the last time out of the door of my father’s house. I drop the key through the mail slot and beat a hasty retreat down the drive. I don’t look back as tears flow.