Box of memories

El momento en que la niñez queda atrás y los recuerdos se cubren de polvo…

Colorful trees decorate your way to the house. The leaves on the ground dress the roads welcoming you to taste the pleasure of a fantastic story. Almost at the end of the road, on the left side, you can see the house, charming like a kid’s smile.

A green garden invites you to an adventure: the journey in the house of dreams. Wooden windows and doors are surrounded by bricks, and red and white flowers. From the balcony, yellow, red, white and orange flowers fall like an exotic waterfall covering the garage entrance.

In front of the main door, there is a hand-made carpet that captures some of the effort, love and work that was put into every corner of the house.

Recently, my family moved out of the place where we used to live, the place where I spent most of my childhood, the place that keeps all my secrets.

The walls that belong to this house saw me growing up, crying and laughing in all the different situations in my life: my birthday parties, the first time I found out that Santa Claus didn’t exist, and the moment my mom told me she was finally divorcing my dad after a short period of “hopes” (for getting back together after their first separation).

Even though the house still belongs to us, there are other people living there, strangers, that I didn’t want to meet and I still refuse to. I saw them once from a distance, like shadows in the night, like ghosts of my imagination.

Although I believe that my memories are one of my most valuable treasures, I was devastated when I had to pack all my personal things and leave my room, my walls, and my home.

I still talk about them as if they were my room, my walls and my home. The warmth of the room was so peaceful that you felt like someone was hugging you every time you walked into it.

The pastel walls matched perfectly with the light that was coming from outside the huge window, creating a new sunset every moment during the day. The curtains were pastel pink, like rosebuds decorating my windows. Going back for Christmas this year, I didn’t have my home.

 I didn’t hear the same noises of birds singing in the morning, or neighbors cutting the grass (it’s amazing, but that was the only place where the noise of the mower didn’t bother me). I didn’t smell the same fragrances of rain when it was coming, or eucalyptus when we turned on the fireplace.

When I went home this time, I didn’t have my walls, my balcony and my flowers (which I believed I was the only one able to take care of). Obviously, I was wrong because the flowers were still there.

Has the house ever been alive? What a weird idea I have sometimes, even though I know my family gave it life by our actions. I even got the feeling the house could talk to me, calm me down when I was sad, or simply smile when I was happy.

No matter how, I’m still convinced that we shouldn’t be sad; because we still have our memories, and will never be able to give them away.

The house is the huge box that holds my childhood memories, the memories that I love the most. That’s probably the reason why I miss home, that home, the one attached to all my beautiful memories.

I lived a simple childhood. The house was always full of friends that came to do homework, study or simply have tea. It gave you a nice feeling to get inside it and find yourself surrounded by wooden furniture and ceilings, books and pictures.

Some of my friends still remember how nice it used to smell as soon as you would get inside it. It was a wood smell like a forest, fresh and clean air, like our lives. I remember asking them what kind of smell, and they would tell me: “it just smells like your house.”

Obviously, I was used to it already. I kept guessing what the smell was, playing an innocent game with my mind. Was it good? Was it new? One day one of my friends asked me what the smell in my clothes was. I was surprised when he said it was just like my house smelled.

Then I realized, it smelled like roses, combined with wood, lots of wood. We had roses in the garden, and I loved to bring them inside. We had wood in a basket beside the fireplace and eucalyptus over the stove.

Another reason that put me so close to my house is the fact that it grew up with us, and it was affected by each happy and sad moment we lived in our lives.

When my parents first moved in, it wasn’t finished, but they had all the energy to make it grow, to fill each of its spaces. Little by little it was getting ready.

All of a sudden, after seven years of continued accomplishments both in the house and the family, we were paralyzed, like everything else in our lives: my parents were getting divorced. That’s when the house started growing exclusively with my sister and me.

The older we became, the more we could take care of it. It was as if the house was suffering with us, and the more we recovered, the more life it regained. On the bad days, the house looked disorganized, unattended; the happy days, it looked bright and impeccable.

We weren’t happy to leave the house, but after a few years of being only three of us living between its warm arms, we realized we weren’t living the way we were meant to live.

My mom had moved out. Even though we were asked which of my parents we wanted to live with, the answer was very obvious: we were living with my dad. We have always preferred him.

After some time of living there, we realized that that was the house for the four of us (Mom, Dad, my sister and me), and unfortunately we weren’t going to live like that anymore. After long talks, we decided that the house was going to be rented out. It was a big step, but we still had to leave it, unoccupied every single space of it.

Finally, the day came to leave the house. Everyone cried, even my neighbors, even the maid. I understand why it was so sad: we had to pack all our stuff and with it, we took our memories.

The deeper we got into the closets, the older were the memories we found. I remember finding my school reports, the ones that made me so nervous at that time in my life. I was almost sure I was going to get the best grades, but the pressure it put over me wouldn’t let me sleep the night before.

I found the boxes where we kept all our decorations for birthday parties. We had gotten them from my godparents, who were in that business. We used the same stuff for every party; it was like a tradition already: the decorations were getting older, but it looked more beautiful with age.

Today, we live in another place, far from that home, from that neighborhood. My parents don’t go there, unless they need to check on how the other people are taking care of it.

Today I know why leaving the house was so hard for us: we had to assume that life had passed and with it our childhoods were left behind, and our parents’ memories were covered with dust.