The Old House (When I was Young…)

When I was younger, I lived in the same old house I do today. Simple and plain, a silly looking house really. A flat black roof, yellow painted on all four sides, green shutters that look bad and never shut, and only one story high. I have a lot of memories in that old house, some good, and others, quite bad.

I'll tell you a few good memories from that old excuse of a house. I remember on warm spring days, I would go outside barefoot in my hand-me-down tattered shorts and a t-shirt. I would sit under the pretty purple blossom tree in my front yard, where the flowers drooped all the way to the ground like a graceful, flowing weeping willow. I was hidden away safely from the world. I always thought those blossoms looked like grapes. Their sweet scent was peaceful and calming to me.

I also remember smelling the beautiful lilac flowers. They were always prettier every spring. I remember those roses that grew in tall stalks, with razor sharp thorns and puffy leaves. I'd prick my finger on a thorn; blood would trickle down my fair skin like rain drops. I was Sleeping Beauty, curious and special, who didn't have golden hair, like the sun, but brunette hair, mud brown.

I also remember picking wild blackberries in the forest behind my house. Sweet, soft, juicy and delicious. Looking for the most sweet berries took skill. I wasn't afraid to stagger through the brambles, tunnel through burrows, or run across stinging nettles that had no effect on me. Flawless, I felt.

I love remembering standing outside with my Dad on warm August nights. Gazing upon the moon, the stars, constellations, and, if we were lucky, a shooting star. I was never able to find one until later in my life. "There's the north star." He said to me. "Where? Where?" I asked curiously. He'd point up the blue velvet sky and say, "Up, over there." It was so beautiful, full of hopes and dreams, it was.

I remember in the cold winter month of December, I'd play in the fresh snow for hours, frozen billows of water would trample my knees. I remember making snow angels with my two sisters. We'd fall on to the fluffy blanket, and begin crafting our state-of-the-art angels. I remember rolling a tiny snowball in to a huge ball twice my size with my family. He was soon to be the biggest snowman in the world, collecting dirt, stones and other debris. He was dirty, but he had character. I remember going inside and drinking hot cocoa next to a warm wood burning fireplace that sparked and sizzled.

Those were good memories. But with every good memory, comes a bad one. I remember the pain and sorrow that shattered my good memories like glass. I remember hearing the screaming and yelling of my mother when she got mad, blaming my Dad for everything, when he did nothing wrong. Holding back tears, I'd lay on my pillow, staying strong, until I couldn't hold it in any longer. I let it out, crying at the thought of divorce.

I remember constantly cleaning the house, day and night, never getting a chance to do homework or get a decent night sleep because I was sweeping the floor or picking up clothes, toys and books. I never knew a simple mistake would turn into a huge catastrophe, my mother was furious if I did something wrong.

The most tragic of all is when she would take her anger out on me. Bruises, bumps, and headaches were her marks. Throwing objects at me, screaming in my face, and making me the target of her anger. It was a fight I lost every time, left broken and scarred on the battlefield, lying in the grass, motionless and quiet, where only my breathing could be heard. I never stood up to her, my biggest regret in life; I only thought things in my head, never aloud. I was too shy and afraid. I was the target of manipulation, abuse, torture and fear. Things I thought I would never conquer. But in time, those bloody scars from that cold battlefield slowly healed with confidence, bravery, love, and courage. I can stand up for myself and I can show the world what I'm made of. I went from sad, shy and quiet, to brave, fierce and strong. I wouldn't be who I am today without all the trauma, but what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, and I know now that those words are true.