Our house never looked like this before. Like ever.
All the clutter was put away, save a few items.
Like the small artist’s sketch of Heart Mountain, where we got engaged, done in rough strokes of blues and browns.
The bronzey mirrored-glass vase that reflects the afternoon sun into shafts of light on the vaulted ceiling. Twinkling like stars.
I wondered why we don’t live this way all the time. Pared down. Simple. Uncluttered. Yeah, we’ll live like this next time. Next time, for sure.
The house will look great in the pictures, I thought. Weeks of work for 10 minutes of realtor pictures. Pictures of space and light. Just enough to give someone a sense of whether their life could slip in here. Someone will love this house. For all the reasons we have. It will be the perfect container for someone else’s gloriously perfect mess.
I sat in the silence and looked around the living room.
I noticed the Sand Fossil paint on the walls. It had been the perfect colour after all. We were right to insist it be re-painted after the painters got the shade slightly off 10 years ago. I didn’t think it would matter (isn’t tan tan?). But in a never-to-be-repeated flash of design prowess I thought it was too “hints of celery” when we wanted “warm sand”.
I saw the crisp white edging of the window trim and baseboards, that my husband installed himself.
And through the big picture window, the leaves of the tall aspen trees in the neighbour’s yard on the other side of the green belt danced in the breeze. It’s a perfect window. Utterly perfect.
I walked around main floor.
I touched the narrow wall leading into the kitchen. Nine years of kids’ heights written in smudged pencil, now painted over.
I scanned the smattering of little dents in the kitchen cherry hardwood. Especially the area where the high-chair used to sit. Messy, imperfect, plate-dropping life is in those dents. Beautiful little dents.
I wandered upstairs into the girls’ rooms. They were weirdly clean, the dirty laundry and stuffed animals hidden in their closets. I stared at those walls too. All the stickers and scribbling now scrubbed off and touched up.
I recalled the endless hours in the middle of many nights sitting in these rooms staring at these walls, with a nursing or sleeping baby on my lap. That was way before any scribbles or stickers. I would sit in the big brown Lazy-Boy in the glow of the night light, hour upon hour…night after night. Noticing the window trim. The popcorn texture on the ceiling. The way the curtains hang just so. The edging of a photo frame. The curl of her wee fingers and the curve of her cheek. Listening to her gentle breathing. And the click-click-whirr of the furnace going on and off.
On and off.
On and off.
God, I’ve loved this house.
I love this house.
We lived here.
We really lived here.