I stood on the sidewalk looking up at the old house. The memories flooded back and washed over me like syrup over pancakes. They filled every crevice with raw emotions and carried me back to the year we first met.
We were so young then with our entire lives unfolding before us. We were sure that we had the perfect love. A love that was better. A love that was different. A love that would last forever. And it was better…and different. Trouble is, it just wasn’t given enough of a chance to last forever.
When you took me home to meet your family, I was so nervous. I wanted to make a good impression. I think I must have tried on every outfit in my closet looking for the best “wouldn’t she be a perfect daughter in law” look. I thought you might have given them at least a hint about me. I was so unprepared when I walked in that night for dinner.
“Who the hell is this? Did you pick her up on the other side of the railroad tracks? Son, we do not associate with girls like that,” boomed your father. Your mother at least had the good graces to murmur a cordial greeting and wait to see how I would react. And I did react. I remember turning around and running down the street. Why did I think I could fit in with a family like yours? Why did I ever think they would accept someone like me?
With tears hotly streaming down my brown face, I ran to the bus stop. I expected you would follow me. You didn’t and that made the tears flow even more freely. I felt abandoned, alone and ashamed. My mama always told me I should never be ashamed of who I was. She said I was just as good as any other girl. Mama just didn’t know though. How could she?
That old house was the house we dreamed of living in one day as husband and wife. We dreamed and schemed – we talked about the three children we would have (two boys and a girl). We talked about the garden we would plant and the flowers that would be out in front. We danced together in the moonlight and the streetlights knowing that some day we would be living in that house.
That one night didn’t just take away our love. It took away our dreams. It washed our garden away with my tears. Our children ran away when I ran to that bus stop. Now as I look up at that old house, our dreams came rushing over me like Niagara Falls. I felt like I was drowning in them. Where are you? Whatever became of you? You know, I never married. No one would have measured up and I certainly could never have loved anyone like you.
I did find an old house of my own, but I could never make it a home.