Thursday, March 22, 2012

The House in Highland Park

Of the weekly one page homework archives...

Prompt: use description.

I remember the clocks the most. The ding and dong that caught me off guard every hour that it would proclaim had arrived within the four walls of the house. Even from depths of the basement, those grandfather clocks would reach my young ears. For the rest of my life, I would associate the sounds of a tick and a tock and bong with the house in Highland Park. The house that my mother cleaned for four days a week till 2 in the afternoon, the house that my mother noted in my school’s transcripts under my current address, the house that took one hour on the train to get to from the city where we really lived. That house felt like home at the same time it didn’t, this mixed emotion would confuse me as a child as I try to both play in the house as well as respect it, as other rooms were mine to play and roam free in while two rooms were strictly forbidden to even linger near.

The Highland Park house was the biggest house I’ve ever seen at age nine. Light brown with black window shutters, the roof a perfect point, and a driveway so steep and windy that it felt like every time I walked up it to the front door, the house was telling me I had to put in some effort in order to be worthy.

Walking through the front door, the foyer was simple. A coffee table to the right beneath an ornate mirror where I could see the top of my dark brown hair and my mother’s worried face that the kitchen counter hadn’t been clean off enough from her last visit. My mother would take me through the hallway towards the kitchen and I take a peak at the bathroom under the stairs to admire and giggle at how small it was: it was my favorite bathroom to use. In the wide and open kitchen, I stare up at all the different pots and pans, some gold and large, others small and black, a few the color of copper and altogether they made me think that cooking was a special occasion.

As my mother fussed over not understanding how to retrieve messages from the answering machine, I open drawers to see what I could find. I was always wondering when I was young, I needed to see something, touch something, to understand it. I hated the drawer that had all the pills and its boxes that kept all the pills. Looking like a bunch of pebbles to me, I wonder why Mr. Taxman needed all these smelly, stinky things in his body. More often than not, I open the worse one of them all, the one that had the yellow label in an amber see-through bottle, I turn the ridged cap and pull out the cotton swab and hold it between my fingers as I dared myself to take a whiff just cause: youthful curiosity knows no bounds.

The kitchen was only the first stop before my mother let me go to my room in the house while she cleaned and took care of the dogs. Up three flights of stairs to the very top of the perfect pointed roof, I find myself in my room; the one Karla and I would sleep in when mom had to watch the house during their vacations. It was right across the gym room where the only purpose it served for me then was just another room to watch TV, a change of scenery when I needed it during the latest episode of Days of Our Lives.

In my room there was a large bed, like when Karla and I would push our beds together to make the big bed but without worrying about falling in the middle. Two windows were on either side of the walls, one overlooking the garden in the backyard, and the other facing the front out into the street. Under each window was a desk: a large treasure chest of pens, papers, staplers, and more fun things to play “office” with my sister. I sit in my wooden chair and wrap my fingers around the tiny golden horseshoes that pull each drawer open. I write and highlight, pile up my papers, and tap them on my desk, put them in folders and continue on my important business of the afternoon.


Post a Comment