Friday, August 27, 2010

Magpie Tales: Saying Goodbye

She walked about the house; her bare feet cool on wood floors the color of honey straight from the hive before it had been pasteurized. From the living room to the dining room to the kitchen, on hands and knees they’d worked side by side peeling back layers of coverings exposing each plank. So many years had passed that now the renovated floor took on a patina of age and wear, yet the smoothness and color remained as glorious as the day they completed it.
In the foyer, her hands encompassed the walnut ball that marked the beginning of a journey upstairs. Holding it as if she held a mystical gazing ball that would foretell her future, she closed her eyes and traced her fingers over the hash marks left by a hurried craftsman generations ago.

Climbing the stairs she counted, "One, two, three, four, five, six..." A loud creak sounded at the fall of her foot on the seventh step. Over the years it became the tattle-tale of sneaky stair climbers and later the tell-tale sound of a wandering heart. At the top of the stairs she turned to the left, opened the door to the now empty room where once upon a child a little girl lined up paper dolls on a crocheted lavender rug. The tiny table set for tea with a bear, a monkey, and two dolls named Lily and Lucy disappeared long ago. Down the hall, another square room witnessed raucous wrestling and little boy games. She turned her back on the room at the far end of the hall, too many memories, too much pain. Her audible sigh echoed through the hallway bouncing off walls, plumb and plain. No framed prints, no rogue’s gallery of the branches, limbs, and twigs of the family tree stared down from the walls. Everywhere she looked basic beige stuck her as boring and necessary.

From room to room she wandered. Each room naked and vulnerable lacking furniture and adornment that speaks of personalities, experiences, likes and dislikes. Not even shades, hanging like heavy eyelids over dark eyes peering out into a world remained. It had become a hollow house, too lonely for words, so she moved on in silence.

Back down stairs, she gazed out the wavy glass of paned windows where 200 years worth of children watched seasons transform from trees shaking in the frigid winter winds to pastel blossoms bothered by bees on spring days. From this vantage point, she could see the magic tree where the children hid and created fantastical lands of fairies and goblins. So many memories enveloped in a few acres called home. A hot trail of tears descended down the curve of her cheeks, passed her chin wetting her neck with salty brine as she stewed in her thoughts of past and future.

She continued the final tour while ghosts, still living, haunted her mind and followed her steps. In the dining room, where rainbows danced against the wall from chandelier prisms that caught the early evening light, she smoothed a hand over the antique step back cupboard, emptied of its fragile occupants, standing alone, a compromise for the future staring blankly from the wall as if questioning why it should remain.

The kitchen loomed before her an open wound with yawning cupboards waiting to be filled and the fireplace gaping wide-eyed and cold across the room. She stood in the heart of the home, a mirage of joyful meals dissipating into marital battles and lingering tearful nights accosting her memory.

It was time. She slipped her shoes back on and with one hand on the brass door knob; she touched her fingertips to her lips, blew the kiss into the house, turned, and walked out the door.

A brief glance into the rearview mirror revealed the setting sun’s glow embrace the house while she drove into her future.

Each week Willow offers a photo on her writing blog, Magpie Tales, and invites all interested to take a look at the photo and write their take on what they see.  This is my story inspired from the above photo.  Take some time to read the inspirations of other talented writers. 

19 comments:

Brian Miller said...

so many memories woven into the fabric of our homes...glad she can look forward to the future and new memeories made in new places...love the vivid descriptions of the rooms,,,the floors etc...nice magpie!

Niamh said...

The details work so well here - the creaky 7th step , the naming of lily and lucy rather than just saying two dolls - gives the writing a dimension that makes it feel "real"...
I don't know what hash marks are, maybe thats just me?

Such a wonderful closing sentence!-

"A brief glance into the rearview mirror revealed the setting sun’s glow embrace the house while she drove into her future."

willow said...

Beautiful piece of writing here. You described the hardwood floors at WM perfectly. And it actually is haunted, by the way, did you know?

Teresa O said...

Brian...thanks for stopping by and commenting. My writing forte is setting scenes, describing places, and all that jazz.

Niamh...Hello and welcome! Hash marks are lines. The ball at the top of the stairs in the Victorian farmhouse I lived in had palpable lines or hash marks made from the carver or craftsman who created the decorative top.

Willow...What a lovely home you live in. The wasband and I refinished all the floors in the farmhouse we lived in and I tried to describe them in my writing. Yes, I've read your house is haunted. So was the house I lived in! I should write about it someday.

Teresa said...

Wonderful! You do such a great job of building feelings in your writing. Every little detail helps to lend credibility to this piece.

Teresa O said...

Teresa...thank you for commenting. I like giving the particulars versus the generalizations...instead of vegetables I tell what vegies; instead of toys, dolls, blocks, trucks, etc. Just something I learned in writing classes.

Sue J said...

Beautifully written. I was there with her.

kathew said...

I loved this- especially "shades, hanging like heavy eyelids over dark eyes "

Jennifer said...

Loved your description of her tears. I was sad for her to have to leave.

Teresa O said...

Sue J...thank you for stopping by. Yes, I was there with her, too.

kathew...Thank you for your kind comments. I always think windows look like eyes peering out into the world.

Jennifer...I was sad to leave. I was actually describing the farmhouse I lived in while married. I guess I should have called this fiction based on fact, experience, or something like that.

Tumblewords: said...

Wonderful imagery - a technicolor piece, to be sure!

PattiKen said...

Just beautiful, Teresa. So many memories within those walls, both joyful and sad. Here's wishing her a new home in which to begin to build new ones.

P.S. I count stairs too...

Teresa O said...

Tumblewords...thanks for visiting and for your thoughtful comments. I do like imagery.

Patti...thank you for commenting. Homes come and go for most of us and this little lady is no different.

Jennifer said...

Nice imagery - and I especially love the hopeful ending.

steveroni said...

Trying to remember how many houses/homes I have "kissed" goodbye.
And each gave me a sadness all its own. Even to having to leave behind a favorite key, or lamp shade, or pretty telephone with push-buttons...oh, my! Thank you, Teresa O.

I learned from you just now to generalize less, and color more...a little more?

Aurora said...

Exquisite writing. That just makes me cry, I can so see it and feel it with those descriptive words...
I love my house like that, my home, my nest.

~T~ said...

"Parting is such sweet sorrow"
Beautifully told.

Christina said...

from room to room, i was there. : )
thank you.
xo

Relyn said...

You have so much talent, my friend.