When I left, I thought there was no going back. As that last day froze in my memory, I somehow thought, the house, the contents, and the people in it, would remain unchanged.
To most it was an ordinary house on an ordinary street, but they would not have known the life which I had lived in it.
Funny now, this day of my return, is just like that final afternoon. The January snow rests underfoot, gleaming on rooftops, barely teasing the barren branches of the trees. The large oak outside my attic window looks taller, telling me it stayed, even though I ran away.
Did the roots of the tree follow me, become touchingly close? Did it witness my new life, the one without this home?
My father’s angry words tried vainly to catch flight in the breeze, as I slammed the front door shut, leaving for streets that I had never known, for people that spoke differently to me. Thinking I was moving on.
It has taken me a while to understand, that the past can overrun the present. No running away was ever going to change what was left behind, for as I slammed the front door shut, hoping to put the past behind me, I did the very opposite.
He is an old man now, frail I believe. It took many miles for me to get here, but standing now looking at the old house, the journey back has taken more than distance.
I touch the tree before I climb the steps; feel the tough grooves in it's trunk, knowing the roots spread further than the eye can ever see. The window frames have chipped paint, the glass dirty, but the house knows me, and no matter what he might say, it is welcoming me back.