Tell us about the home where you lived when you were twelve. Which town, city, or country? Was it a house or an apartment? A boarding school or foster home? An airstream or an RV? Who lived there with you? Today’s twist: pay attention to your sentence lengths and use short, medium, and long sentences as you compose your response about the home you lived in when you were twelve.
Twelve. Sixth grade. Two decades later, I consider a terrible age, one that I do not want to work with– under any circumstances. Back then, it wasn’t so bad. Even though my parents had split up, we still had a decent house. I suppose I should have been glad that we had a house at all on one income. I didn’t have to change schools or try to make new friends (I hardly had any friends anyway), and we always had food on the table. Every now and then, I drive by the old place. I suppose I should do so while I still can, because one of these days I am going to move to a better climate. It’s pretty run down now, and as fond as I was of it when I was young, I wouldn’t want to live there the way it is now.
The house I lived in when I was twelve was one that my family had moved us into when I was about five. It was three stories, but it was a pretty different floor plan from what that might make you think. It had a main level and an upstairs. The other level was not an upper upstairs, but a downstairs, except it was only halfway underground. The windows in the downstairs could look out into the backyard. It was strange, because in the front it was even with the ground level. I suppose the land in the back was lower somehow. Maybe the original landscape was uneven; I don’t understand it.
For a while I had an upstairs bedroom, next to my sister’s room. Hers was across from our parents’ room. By the time I was a teenager, I moved to the downstairs bedroom. Liked the solitude. My mother, not so much. But for a teenage girl, it could have been much worse than stress and worry. Anyhow, from my perspective, having my own bathroom and being close to the game room was really nice.
It was sad when we moved out. My sister and I used to plan how we would remodel the house when we inherited it. My best friend and I had played all over that house. I had hidden from and fought with my sister, developed my love of reading, loved my kitties, and so much more in that house. The new house did not seem right. It was not even the one that we were going to get with my aunt– my favorite aunt– and it just seemed… I don’t know how to describe it. I shouldn’t say “all she could get” because that makes it sounds crummy. It was nicer than what we were moving out of. Newer, cleaner. It just didn’t have that home feeling. But then again, what could, after living in one place for ten years?
Seeing my tree-house taken down was pretty sad. I used to love going up there to read. Sometimes I would hide my treasures in there, because nobody else went in. My best friend used to go there with me, but I hardly saw her those days. It was falling apart, though, and the new owners weren’t interested in it. It ended up a pile of purple and green rubble that had once been my dad’s greatest achievement… except the lavender paint was peeling and faded, so it was hardly recognizable. The tree-house coming down had a big par in really solidifying the fact that we were leaving.
In our new house there would be no more playroom/game room. There were fewer bedrooms, and I had no choice but to be right next to my sister again. It would be easier for all of us to argue. I don’t dream about that house. I dream about the one I grew up in, where I played the Original Nintendo and learned how to use a computer, where I dealt with my parents’ divorce and invited my first boyfriend into. I dream about the muddy backyard and trying to get to the tall tree where my house was. I dream about the school I went to while I lived there.
These days, the place is pretty run down. It looks like they haven’t done any maintenance on it since we moved out. The saguaro is gone, the brown paint is peeling, the AC is filthy, there is trash out front. I would have cared for it, freshened the paint, washed the driveway, put litter in its place. On Google Maps you can still see the pool (people used to fill them in with dirt because the upkeep was too much trouble), but I’m not so sure about the tree. I don’t think you could build another tree-house there if you wanted to. Perhaps it’s better that the house is nearly beyond repair, and the neighborhood is declining with it. Even if I were able to acquire it as a foreclosure, the cost of fixing it up wouldn’t be worth it. The area isn’t great anymore. My grade school was torn down and re-built. The best is only memories now,
It’s all just as well. I don’t need anything holding me back from moving to a better place. Now I am wondering what kind of house we’ll be living in when my own children turn twelve.