I have known joy and laughter, parties and love. I was well cared for, admired, beautiful. People ran their hands over my banisters, marveled at my staircases, stood gazing out of my windows into the rose gardens that surrounded me. I remember the patter of feet running up and down my stairs, the giggling, as children spied on their parents and their guests. I was awake at night for sick children and early morning feedings. I watched over my charges and kept them warm, dry and safe from harm.
Most of all I remember Christmas. Trees in every room, lights, brightly wrapped gifts and the sound of carols and gratitude drifting through my rooms. Guests would arrive, bringing gladness and good cheer. Fires roared in my fireplaces and delicious aromas filled my kitchen. Dogs barked and chased each other, sometimes gouging my shiny floors, but no matter, that was just life and I was a part of it, holding those I loved close, enveloping them in my love.
But things changed. The children grew up and moved away. My people fell on hard times. There were fewer and fewer parties until finally, there were none at all. I was cold, and my fires were rarely lit. There was no laughter, no joy, no warm and delicious aromas in my kitchen. Few words were spoken, my windows were foggy with grit and dirt, my banisters dull and dry, my gardens dying and filled with weeds, my roses a thing of the past. But I continued to protect my loved ones, as best I could.
My mistress talked to me late at night, telling me how much she loved me, how grateful she was for all I had done. She reminded me of better day and laughed about hiding in my closets, as a child, to avoid seeing her dreadful aunt when she came to visit. She said that she knew how much I loved her. She apologized for letting me down, for being unable to protect me and care for me as she should but she said she was old and poor and didn’t know what to do.
I held her tightly, sang to her, as I did when she was a baby, rocked her within my walls and whispered that everything would be alright. I told her that I understood, that it was a gift to have her live within me and raise her children in my heart. I told her it didn’t matter that I was worn and in disrepair, my job was almost finished.
She sighed, and sat on the floor by the French Doors, as she did when she was ten, watching the crows roost in the tree. She told me that I was beautiful, she said that she loved me and would never forget me and then she closed her eyes and left. I saw her blinding light walk through the doors and into the garden. She stopped, turned and blew kisses at me, as she had done for years. Then she waved and was gone.
I’m still here, but no one visits anymore. I’m considered a beautiful ruin but that’s only on the surface. In my heart and walls, I’m alive with memories of wonderful times and people who truly loved me. In spite of my condition, I’m happy.
Moral of the story: Never take your house/living space for granted. Love it, care for it, thank it, tell it hello when you come home and goodbye, and when you’ll be back, when you leave. Your house loves you and should be part of everything you do. Houses are alive, they have spirits and feelings and we need to be grateful for all that they give. No matter how large or small, our houses are a part of us and we are a part of them. Love them, be grateful, they are beautiful and a reflection of you.