Seeing this house is bitter-sweet. Been a good 34 years or so.
I was driving through a neighborhood, I’ll tell you why in a moment, and the homes looked more and more familiar. Just as I thought, “is this…?” then I saw a house that I lived in temporarily when I was somewhere around 5 or 6. This one or the one next to it. Was a long time ago.
I say “a house” because I moved a lot when I was younger. Sometimes as much as 2-3 times a year. This house was the friend of my mom’s. I remember a few very specific things about it.
- The friend, I wish I could remember her name, was so welcoming.
- I remember thinking how nice she was. Looking back, I get it. She was doing her best to make a young family feel welcome.
- You remember those little handheld air bubble games where you push the buttons and try to get the rings on the hooks? Or the air bubble basketball hoops? She bought me and my younger brother each handheld games.
- I remember we slept in the basement living room.
- I remember we slept on the hide-a-bed couch, all three of us.
- Sometime over those months, I remember a girl trying to kiss me in the backyard as we played hide and seek and we hid together. It’s the first “kiss” I remember, though adult Damon would hardly call that action.
Fast forward to tonight, Christmas Eve, and I was in the neighborhood dropping off some Secret Santa stuff to help a family last minute that I found out about yesterday. As I got closer to the address, the neighborhood started looking familiar. At the moment I looked up, there the house was.
Quite a flood of emotions.
- Some good, like the welcoming adult.
- Some anger, thinking of the lack of stability that existed when I was a child.
- And a lot of pride and humility. Because I got the fuck out of that world. I broke the cycle.
And now I’m giving back. There’s a lot swirling in my head that I can’t quite figure out how to put into words, but in my mind it’s a beautiful poem and I’m grateful.
That’s what I’m trying to say. I’m grateful.