Wouldn’t life be wonderful if all of those dreams we planned and hoped for came true? Of course, I mean the good beneficial dreams, not the silly ones about winning the lottery, not getting a speeding ticket or God forbid lightening striking someone who has done us wrong. I just mean those basic dreams that we are born into this life assuming will happen, if we follow the rules and play fair. But life is more of a gamble and we are given a hand that usually doesn’t deal out a full house or a flush every time.
When people move in and out of our lives, they usually take the best parts and what remains are lost moments, unsaid thoughts or just the emptiness of being alone, as life and those we love continue to move on, one day at a time, one foot in front of the other. No matter how hard we try to accept a new path in life, memories, loss and silence are always left, it just doesn’t seem right.
Waking up from a clockwork orange jigsaw styled dream, I looked into the darkness and realized that for the first time in 50 years, all that was around me in 1700 square feet of American suburbia was truly “all there was.” I had always been one of the lucky ones, who unlike Thomas Wolfe, could go home again. The house that welcomed my first steps and achievements stood against time and always kept the door open. After my father died, the silence was thicker, the grass was browner and the dust grew denser, but the house remained a welcomed testament to my life. Now that mom has passed away, so has the house into the lives of a young newlywed couple who will never know where I last kissed my father, the couch where my first born laid asleep, the tree dad was cutting down with a circular saw and 200 ft extension cord – unknown to me as we spent the day helping, I was going to be proposed to that night as well, the doorbell my nephew would rings as the “Avar Man” or the conga line dancing chorus of tiny tree frogs, who escaped from my room on a hot summer afternoon and made way across the living room rug. The painful reality is I know them and I miss them terribly.
As I look into the rooms and shadows of my own house, I see my daughter standing in beauty, as she tried on her wedding dress for the fifth or was it tenth time? I see the curtains in my bedroom that collect more dust than I want to admit. The day they were hung, my father accidentally drove my car through the garage into the house. The sound was as loud as a train when the walls moved and the drywall showered down. There was a hamster that disappeared for a year, waking up in my daughters Easter basket, and a real Easter bunny who surprised us in the crawl space one fall day. Life sprinkles more than lines across our face, it shades the shadows in memories of color that we catch from the corner of our eye.
I may not have always done what was right, but it was the best I could do and I always pray there will be a wisp of one of those dreams waiting around the corner when I need it the most. However, it isn’t the dream which we find surrounding us in silence, it is sometimes the lost memories and forgotten regrets that hold us when everyone else is gone. Indeed, what is left isn’t always right, but it is always right there.