WordPress posts weekly writing challenges that I would really like to participate in for fun and keep my writing creative, even after writing all day at work.
This post will be, hopefully, the first of many.
The challenge is as follows:
A Picture is Worth 1,000 Words: Write from your own experience. Do one of these people remind you of someone you know, or of something that’s happened to you? Connect the dots for us.
Living Room Dollhouse
There are certain sticking moments in our lives that exist for the sole purpose of being an unforgotten memory, staying engrained in our minds for years to follow. Often, these moments are neither monumental nor defining, but, as we frequently revisit them, their memorability is undeniable.
One of these sticking moments for me occurred nearly two decades ago. I was two years old, maybe a little older, and I was standing outside of my parents’ house, gazing into the bed of a moving van. I distinctly remember that, within the van’s bed, there seemed to be an exact replica of my very own living room. Being that the space was, of course, smaller than our actual living room, the couch, coffee table, lamp, and other decorative pieces of furniture were cramped together, in the almost dollhouse-like version of its original state.
I began to imagine what it would be like to play in the bed of this van, making it my own life-size dollhouse. I recall understanding that we would soon be traveling in the van. For whatever reason, this only made riding with the furniture more exciting to me. I’ve always had a fascination with houseboats, RVs, and other ways of taking your home with you wherever you go; that way, even if you’re always leaving, home is always with you.
There are few words in this memory. There are no faces. No sounds, smells, voices. All that I remember is the moving van, with my dollhouse living room in the bed of it. I know that I wasn’t alone and that my parents stood behind me because, even as I recall this memory now, I can feel the warmth of their presence, like pressure on my shoulder blades. I’m not sure what they were doing or what what they were saying. I just know that they were there. And that I wasn’t looking.
I can’t hear my voice or the words that were spoken, but I asked if I could ride in the bed of the truck, sit on my couch, play with my toys, and stay in my home, even if it was now in the form of a moving van.
The disallowance, like the rest of this memory, was inaudible but left me feeling, for lack of a stronger word, angry. I didn’t understand why I couldn’t stay in the bed of the truck or why I had to be detached from my own living room. The safety issues were lost on me. All that I could grasp was that I hadn’t gotten my way and that my home, or the home I’d come to know, was now being refused to me.
Twenty years later, I’m able to look back on this day with more perception, insight, and, perhaps, maybe a little more wisdom. This was the year that my parents divorced, and this memory is from the day that my mom and I moved away. I don’t remember truly knowing what was happening or the changes in my life that were about to occur, but, for whatever reason, this memory has always stuck with me. I wonder why, over the memory’s progression, I’ve blurred the faces of my parents and muted their voices. Knowing what I know now, I know that there had to be heartbreak, bitterness, and anger mirrored on their faces and in their voices, which is possibly why I turned my back on them, forcing my attention and imagination onto our miniature home within the van.
It’s almost as if, as my family was coming apart behind me, my living room was squeezed tightly in the van, the pieces of furniture holding on in one last attempt to keep the home together.