OYM Day 97: The Pink House
Sometimes, in my dreams, I visit the pink house. I enter through the garage most times and into the kitchen, the smell of linoleum and humidity, summer and cut grass. The windows are open and I can hear the pantry door open and close. No one is sitting at the table and the phone tacked to the wall is silent, it’s cord draped and spiraling to the floor like a switch of a weeping willow. The refrigerator hums and I can hear something coming from the neighboring living room.
There is worn spot on the carpet right in front of the TV, where I spent hours watching cartoons and later music videos and countdowns. I can feel the lip of the coffee table digging into my back, the way it did when I leaned against it to take in the glow of that big warm zenith box. I poke my toes underneath the TV console and feel crumbs of Doritos and other odds and ends. My mother would not be pleased. Where is my mother, anyways?
I walk past the front door, one that I opened, closed, slammed, and slowly opened many times, and like a plane on autopilot my arm raises just high enough to grab the staircase banister without looking at it. I swing onto the stairs and run my other hand along the floral wall paper. I can remember when she put this up. At the top of the stairs is the little bathroom. It’s next to the big bathroom. All my life I wondered why you would have 2 bathrooms next to each other. The little bathroom is where a crow died when I was little. It came in through the living room fireplace. They say when birds are scared they fly high. This crow flew all the way upstairs and my mom trapped it in the little bathroom. Glass broke and light bulbs blew and a few minutes later it was quiet. We opened the door and there it was. Dead in the toilet. Blood covered the floors and the walls. My mom redid the bathroom shortly after.
The big bathroom is always damp from 4 teenage girls and their mother having to shower, but the towels are hung just so and the counter is clean. I open the vanity drawer and my sisters snake is wrapped around my mothers hairbrush. I remember the day this happened. I close the drawer.
I walk down the hallway to the bedrooms. My room is to the right and my sisters to the left. My room is pink. Pink walls and pink carpet. There’s a rough, brown-ish patch on the carpet from where I spilled nail polish years ago. I rub my fingers across it now and almost travel further through time. I look out the bedroom window that faces the roof of the garage. Kids are playing basketball in the driveway. They’re not playing the actual game. It looks like they’re playing a version of hot-potato mixed with HORSE. The sun is starting to set and everything is washed with a thin veil of sepia. They will play until the moon hangs high in the sky.
I go to my sisters room. It has hardwood floors and baby blue walls. It gives me anxiety to be in there. It’s always littered with clothes and cans of soda, papers, and makeup. It doesn’t get much natural light like the pink room. So much fighting stemmed from this room. It’s like visiting an old battlefield in Virginia. It feels like the bruise of the house. I step out as quickly as I stepped in.
I visit the bedroom at the end of the hall. It’s where we were once babies. A Sesame Street poster hangs on the wall. This is the smallest room. The yellow room.
Then, my parents room. It feels majestic because it has his and hers closets. It smells like my mother’s perfume. The furniture is large and made of rich wood. It feels like the captains chair of the house. The inside of this room lulls me to sleep, but just as I am being enraptured by warm summer air and the perfectly made bed, I see it: the door knob. Without touching it, I can fee the cold metal in my palm. I can feel the muscles in my forearm tighten, the way they did when I would be collapsed on the ground and holding onto it with my last bit of strength. It was always locked and I would hear her crying through the thin wood door. I would ask her if I could come in, but she would never respond. Was it something I did? I knew it wasn’t, but I knew I probably wasn’t helping. Kneeling at this door and clinging to this knob is where the seed of my shame was planted and began to grow.
Suddenly, I’m outside in the backyard. The grass is so thick and grows taller by the fence where many old pets are buried. The trees that flank the property soar above my head and I touch the bark. There is a painted, wooden wood-pecker nailed to one of them. I remember my dad moving it from tree to tree and telling us it came alive at night. This was before he left.
I walk around the side of the house and see the ivy climbing it’s way up the wall. I bend down at the foot of the brick chimney and open it’s small door. I never knew why this door existed, probably for cleaning out the ashes. But I used to open it every so often, thinking one day there would be a note for me or maybe a fairy. Today, just like all the times before, it was empty.
I walk to the front of the house and see the flower boxes holding onto the window sills and I can hear my mother begging one of us to water them already. I can hear the TV and a laugh track drifting through the window screens. The front door is open and the screen door acts like an idea of privacy between us and the dozen kids in the neighborhood.
There’s one loose brick by the stairs that lead to the door. I remove the brick and find a penny. It is shiny and warm against the cool pink brick in my hand. A pink brick from the only pink house on the block. Our pink house.
My most recent visit to the Pink House. The new owners have removed the big trees our front and have put some weird couch on the front porch, but it’s still pink.