The writing challenge for this week was to sit down for 10 minutes and write what you remember. Once I set that timer, this was what came to mind. This is what I remember:
I remember the walls being yellow and warm, maybe even a cream color. It is more probable than not that the walls weren’t actually yellow – the memories are just seen through the faded, affectionate lens of a child. There was the kitchen, bright blue cabinets with chips of green paint showing through from years earlier. The little four-person, round, kitchen table. There was no need for it to be any bigger. There were four seats, and four of us. What more could we need? I remember meals of meatloaf and broccoli at the table. Happy family conversations, and battles over not wanting to eat my peas, and craft projects. That little table that could transform into a doghouse to cage in my brother when I was the owner and he was the dog, or a barn where I would munch on cheerios out of a bowl when I was pretending to be a horse. This table was in a kitchen where I would watch my mother cook, whether it was dinner or some sweet treat for the day. I would take spoonfuls of hot Jell-O (one for every member of the family and then for extended family members too, of course), or lick the cake batter of the spoon for her (so she wouldn’t have to clean it, obviously).
The faded memories of this place also include running around in circles through the house on all fours. For some reason those memories are from the perspective of a horse. I would have jumps made of chairs, or toys set up on the route so I could practice all disciplines vital to being a well-rounded equine.
There was our brown couch – the brown couch – in the living room. Big enough to seat us. There was no need for it to be bigger. The living room was small, and the wood stove I knew not to touch because it was too hot. But I could stand in front of it after a bath to warm up in the winter. Lazy Sunday mornings would be spent on that squishy, enveloping couch. Mom and Dad reading the newspaper, me and Clip Clop, or whatever stuffed animal of choice, wedged between them in “my” seat.
The living room had a ruby red carpet. I’m sure my mother hated it and with eyes untainted by childhood affection, I’m sure I would think it was unattractive too. But, this was where the Christmas tree belonged in December. This was where we would decorate the tree to my mother’s favorite Christmas music CD one evening with snowflakes falling lightly out of the cold winter sky. But we were warm with holiday cheer and excitement within.
This was a place where my soul felt safe. There are no feelings of anxiety associated with these memories. No stress. No pain. Just home.