by Lawrence J. J. Leonard
Pushing through the front doors
the warmth embraces me in an out-of-place way.
Normally so cold with the air conditioner running,
the quiet is bombarded by my footsteps upon the stone foyer.
I call to mom and dad as if they would be surprised and answer me.
Taking care of aging parents was never easy, not even the end.
Both expressed fears and regrets while preparing their meals
and expected me to react as the seventeen-year old they remembered.
This was a glorious home with parties and music,
weekly debates and crafted arguments,
sports teams celebrations and ‘get’em next year’ sentiments,
all because of the love a dedicated woman had for a smitten man.
Now the den is a museum of pillowed chairs and well-worn couches
with weathered bar stools overlooking the avocado tinted kitchen.
The scratched and burned frying pans, dented pots by the haggard oven
made the house reek of Sunday dinner comfort and conversations and belonging.
I am covered in stillness and anticipation.
The walls and the ceiling await a shout
from my innermost being that I am come to being new life
to this seasoned brick and wood and tile.
Heading into the hallway I gasp to yell out, then belay that decision.
A commitment of that kind is only for a place called home.
The window in my old bedroom glows from the morning light
which the curtains strain to keep out.
I draw back the fabric and peer into the front yard.
Easters, Christmases, Fourths of July, and Memorial Days
coming rushing back to me in a sea of warm tears.
This neighborhood beacon of light always called friends to return.
I still live in the city where my parents thrived.
Their zest for life and search for happiness was magic.
It was a hollow victory, having sold this trove of dreams fulfilled and altered.
Home was the soul of this house.
Copyright © 1960-2016 Lawrence J. J. Leonard All rights reserved.