The white house on the corner was very familiar. She was walking toward it as she had so many times before. The house was not large on the outside. On the inside, it would go on forever; room after room; level after level. As she reached the door, she knew she would be allowed in. The woman who greeted her seemed older than before. The woman offered her something from the kitchen and walked off. She knew she’d never see her again once the woman entered the kitchen. It was always like that; the greeter, only there to walk you through the door.
The living room was still as she remembered; dusty and dark with beautiful wooden floors. Small throw rugs near the chairs; no couches here…just…chairs. On the right, through a small door fit for a child were stairs which led up…and down. As she looked, her heart raced; it was here, in the stairwell that held all those secrets. Downstairs, the sleeping bodies of so many she had known. She had seen who she thought to be her grandparents there. Upstairs was the place that held treasures, and beings she had not yet met. Oh. There were always others there; however, she was too frightened to really see them...or speak to them.
She headed toward the stairs, moving upward. There was a secret entrance. Could she remember? Would anyone else be there? After the first turn in the stairs, she stopped. Her heart began to beat quicker again. Why did she always go here? On the steps was a toy. She remembered it from before. She had been playing hide and go seek with her brother. She smiled. There were good times.
Upward she climbed. When she reached the next level, her heart began to pound yet again. Here was where her brother would hide through the secret entrance waiting for her. He would then jump out and scare her. He always did that. One time, he did that and had fallen…to where the toy lay. Had something happen to him she could not remember?
She could hear him now call, “Come on!”
Through the small entrance she crawled. Though she were older, it still seemed frightening; just as it was so many years ago. The room began to become larger. She saw the old furniture; still sitting as it had from the last visit. They knew how to make furniture back then. She’d love to take one of the chairs home with her; but knew she never could. The curves of the wood were beautiful; the fabric soft; with hand stitched patterns. She moved toward the chair to sit down and then stopped. There was someone else there; already sitting; a woman…in older clothing. Her hair was up…like the Gibson girl picture…
“Over here.” She heard her brother say. She turned and moved through another room. Who was that person? Why could I not speak with them? “That’s their room” came the reply from her brother. We all have our own rooms? She asked. “Yes”. Now she was unsure if she was even speaking with her brother. Hadn’t he been hurt with the fall on the stairs? Did she ever really see her brother when she came here?
In this room was furniture not as new as today; however, newer than the room before. This room was not as neat. There were boxes on the floor, piles of clothing, toys everywhere and a closet that was full of just about everything. Was this how she had left the room the last time? She remembered being chased away…too frightened to return to the room…
There were three beds…maybe more. She started cleaning the room. As she did, she came across a familiar object. She remembered her sisters. They would love this. She’d go get them. They would be in the other room. How did she know this? When did they arrive? She ran through the door into the next room; more beds; newer still, the room cleaner than the last. What had she come here for?
Now she began to be very frightened. She ran through room after room. Some of the rooms had people in them. She knew these were their rooms. She was not to interfere. She seemed to understand that. Some would see her and shout, or scream. She continued to run through the house. She knew each room, every turn every hallway. She had been there so many times.
Finally, she reached the last room that would lead her out the door. The scenery outside was always the same. What happened when you walked through the door was never the same. What would it be this time? She remembered some happy times going through the door; kids laughing and playing. She remembered scary times through the door; being chased…shot at…beaten.
She had to go through the door; down the stairs. Usually, if you made it all the way down and were able to turn right, you’d be ok. She had a feeling this time would be different than before. Why was that? What had happened? Who was she searching for? What was she searching for?
As she had done so many times, she reached for the door knob and turned it. The stairs were still white; the paint starting to peel; the old wood showing through. The sun was bright on her face. That was a good sign. Many times, it had been the moon to great her. This time the visit would end soon.
She realized then she had never finished cleaning the room. That meant she’d be back. Would she ever clean the room? Would she ever meet the others who were in the home? Were they as frightened of her, as she of them?
She smiled. It would be a good ending this time; maybe next time too. Hopefully, she’d remember her way back. Maybe next time she’d actually see her brother and her sisters. She knew they were there too. She could hear them on the stairs, telling her to hurry up and get home before Mom and Dad started looking. “OK” she said. She looked down to see herself as she was so many years ago…a little girl with Mary Jane shoes and pretty dress. Off she skipped to catch up with her sisters; leaving her brother in the home…in another place…and another time…