“On the Other Side, 13”

by Brianna G. Harte

For the first time since we met, Mama seemed agitated. “He never took care of the house. Not once did he water plants or spread mulch. He was always working so hard and didn’t really have time. . .” She trailed off and smiled. “Sorry, Harrison.”

“Should we leave, Mama?”

“Someone else must be living here,” she decided. “That’s odd because when I last came here, it was like nothing changed. But now, well, this can’t be the same owner. You see those sidings? They were falling apart when you played around, always aiming water guns at them and throwing balls at the house.”

Instead, fresh paint and crisp, vinyl sidings lined the house. However, I imagined them differently, with loose panels seeming used, not old. My mind spread toys across the yard, granting a more childish look. Dimples appeared on my face.

“What else did it look like?”

“Why?”

“I want to see our house.”

Mama motioned to the impeccable house in front of us. “It’s right here, Harrison.”

Shaking my head, I said, “No, Mama. The way it was when we lived in it. When I played around in it. When we were alive.”

She nodded, a grin coming to brighten her face ever so slightly. “The house the three of us lived in was two stories tall like this one, but it was tan, not yellow. The windows were all the same. Your daddy and I lived upstairs, watching you play from those two windows right up there. We knew it was a safe neighborhood, so we didn’t worry. Maybe we should have. Anyway, the roof was much simpler. No solar panels lay on top since we couldn’t afford them. I had painted our mailbox with a bear on one side and a patch of flowers on the other.”

As she described the house, the picture in my mind filled. The view of the house that I saw only minutes before was gradually being replaced by the older one that rekindled my memory. Even elements that my mama didn’t name, like the dents in the door and slabs of wood with handmade markings of sayings of love and family, emerged as if I subconsciously recalled them. It seemed welcoming and far less formal than the current appearance.

“Mama, do you see it?”

“I wish, Harrison. But no, I don’t.”

“Do you think I can share what I see with you?” It was more of a wonder than a question. With a giant smile, I grabbed hold of Mama’s hand and only thought of the house I was seeing from my mind. I don’t know how it happened, but in a flash of light, Mama’s face relaxed.

“What wonders death has in store,” she gasped.

I let my feet touch the ground. The instant I touched the grass, I jumped up and down. “Yay! Let’s go inside!” Without waiting for her response, I pulled her with me toward the house and through the door.

Copyright © 2015 Brianna G. Harte. All rights reserved.

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