The first thing she noticed was that it smelled different. Scent had always been something her mind vividly associated things with. It smelled of lemon cleaning spray and rose perfume. There was no longer that air of lavender and green tea. It felt... wrong. This was where she'd grown up, where she'd spent so many hours of her life. Where was Mama's steaming tea cup? Her sister's lavender plants? Where was the chair where she'd curled up and watched Harry Potter movies over and over with Papa? The rug Grandma gave them because she hated the old yellow one? Why did they have to change it all? Now it was all white modern furniture, fake plants, and synthetic candle scents. She felt like something had been stolen from her even though she was the one who had decided to rent it out.
No one in her family had lived there for years. It had just been her in that single family home. All alone. When she decided it was time to move out, she new she couldn't maintain the house. So she rented it out. This was her first time coming back, having been invited by the new owner, and it already felt wrong. She wanted it back - why had she let someone wrap her old life in shiny white wallpaper and cover it up with plain furniture? She walked around, looking for something, anything, that was left. Just a little trace of what was before. But nothing.
She sighed, blinking back stinging tears that had formed behind her eyes. She felt dizzy, her stomach aching like someone had closed their fist around it. She collapsed in a chair beside the window, tracing patterns in the wood floor with the tip of her shoe. Then something... popped. The floor board shifted. A memory shot into her mind, and she dug her fingernails beneath the board. She lifted it up, and there was that little blue book - a diary she had kept when she was twelve. She didn't disturb it - it seemed like something rare and sacred. Something had remained - and it always would. She slipped the floorboard back into place just as the front door swung open and that new, unfamiliar rose perfume scent filled the air.