We moved to a new house about a year ago, a big, old, beautiful house just north of the city. We have plenty of space, a good sized yard, and have bedrooms to spare for our friends and family. I could go on for days about our home, but I am preoccupied today because my old house is still for sale.
The walls have a few nondescript items, but it is obvious no one lives there. There are dishes on a table in the dining room which food has never touched and a bed that I made out of cardboard boxes in the bedroom. Fake apples in a bowl in the kitchen, appliances too clean from disuse. My little house, which kept us safe and warm throughout some of the hardest days of our lives, has been abandoned.
Does a home return to being just a house after the home owners leave? Just a building, a collection of walls and wires? It's been a year since someone slept in the house. No one has run through its hallways or cooked in its kitchen. What happens to the love that lived in that space? My children learned to crawl, then walk, then run on those floors. They built forts in the front room and dreamed big dreams in their little bedroom. We've had raucous parties and intimate dinners, we raised our voices in anger and soothed each other's tears under that roof. But now it's just quiet all the time.
Others see flaws that I can't see because I remember the joy that caused them. The floors look to be buckling because our sweet old cat couldn't hold her bladder anymore. The walls need to be repainted after we removed all of our artwork and the kids replaced it with their own coloring. The corner where the Christmas trees lived is now full of cobwebs and the kids room is small and awkward without their toys cheering up the space.
We had a buyer for a little while, a woman with one child and another on the way. We were so happy that there would be children back in the house! But the woman turned out to be a less than stellar person and we parted ways in very bad terms. I remain offended for my little house that someone would consider moving in and then deciding against it. How dare she insult my little house like that? How dare she reject it?
I am homesick for that space, that little house bursting with toys and furniture and love. Our new home is gorgeous, but I can't fully move on until my little house is in good hands. It sits on a little hill, cheerful and optimistic, like a puppy at the pound. It grows older and more neglected by the day, but still remains hopeful that the right person will come by, will connect with it, and will make it a home again.