17: Bank Owned

17: Bank Owned

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Tough Times, Tough People

Bank Owned

Where thou art—that is home.

~Emily Dickinson

I’ve lost my home. The home I bought, cherished, loved.

It now stands vacant. The bare picture windows stare out like hollow eyes. A bank owned sign sticks crudely in the overgrown, yellow lawn. The flowers I planted and watered religiously wilt, hanging low as if weeping.

Indentations in the carpet reveal the outline of furniture, of a life, of a family. Putty and paint cover the holes in the walls where pictures once hung.

Even though the house is empty, images flood my mind of a time when it was filled with life.

On the driveway, we showed our son how to ride a bike. In this house, both kids started school, learned to read and write. We taught our son to tie his shoes, and for several horrific months went through potty-training our daughter.

Since it was our first home, we set right out to decorate, make it our own. My arm still aches from painting my son’s bedroom walls a bright blue that needed three coats before it stopped appearing streaky. I remember the plans to paint my daughter’s room pastel pink that never came to fruition.

Many injuries and bruises accumulated over the years. There’s the time my daughter tried to climb on top of her dresser and it fell over on her. Luckily, she wasn’t badly hurt. Or the time my son fell off his bike and scraped his knee.

I remember the excitement about having a master bedroom with our own bathroom and walk-in closet. Many fond memories are associated with the room I shared with my husband. The room we talked in, embraced in, laughed in, loved in.

I’ll never forget the time we found a lizard slithering through our hallway. I screamed and jumped up on a chair. My husband caught it and it became the family pet. I wonder now where Ben Casey went after we let him loose in the backyard. I’m sure he misses the excitement and noise back there since now there is only silence.

My heart hurts as we drive away from the house, leaving it in the dust like nothing more than a distant memory.

Behind me my kids’ chatter fills the back seat. My husband at my side threads his fingers through mine. It’s then that I realize I haven’t truly lost my home. My home is not a structure with four walls and a roof. It’s not something that can be bought or sold. My home is not the place I live. It’s the people I live with. The people right here in this car.

My family is my home.

~Amber Garza

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