I drove by our old house today, parked on the narrow street like the stalker I never considered I would be. I saw myself there, stringing lights on the pear tree with my father. I saw the two of us hanging the wreaths on the front doors, the lights on the balcony rails. I glanced through the windows and saw Mom there, gently and specifically hanging the ornaments on the Christmas tree.
Sitting in my car, I could smell the pine logs burning in the fireplace, the ones I carried inside, the ones my father would watch and say, those are too heavy for you, Cat. But I did carry them, I wanted to be strong. And he smiled when they landed and connected flame with the others there.
I sat there and looked at each window and remembered the loved ones who slumbered on the other side of the glass, remembered the prayers we said out loud together. I focused on the trees that were young when we built the house, young and tender, but so strong and tall now.
I looked at the white bricks and the green shutters and I smiled. I saw us, all of us, on those stair steps, through those windows. We were living our lives, just living our lives.
Sitting there, feeling like a connected outsider, nothing moved. I remembered and remembered and remembered. With every ounce of me, and no effort at all.
It seemed that I should cry, but instead I smiled. For once I smiled. We lived our lives there, we loved there! So much love we shared there. For a moment, I saw it all, every bit of life we lived there. I saw all the sparkles from our loving hearts. And then I watched all of my memories rise up in the sky like beautiful bubbles, rising, rising, rising beyond my reach but not my view, not my heart.