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Over the past year, I defeated a fear of other people, learned the value of clarity and brevity, fought writer's block, and developed pride in my words.

Now I am a writer with a love for onomatopoeias and an affinity for semicolons.

Message to Readers

This prompt hit very close to me. Sorry, this one is kind of long.

Any feedback is greatly appreciated!

Hardwood Floors

August 3, 2017

PROMPT: Returning

    I wouldn't be lying if I said that my heart sank a bit when I drove up. I brought a hand up to my face, trying to contain the emotion that was starting to leak out. No, I thought, you are going to be professional about this. It's just a house.
    But it wasn't just a house.
​    I pulled the cord over my head, the weight of the key now pressing into my palm instead of hanging from my neck. It slid into the lock smoothly, just as it did countless times more than two years ago. I waited a second for a hello to reach me from somewhere inside, then quickly corrected my mistake. It was just me today. I hung the key back around my neck.
​    The first thing to hit me was the smell of fresh paint. I walked to the center of the room, staring in disbelief at the blank walls. What happened to the pictures? I thought. Where are the drawings and the band posters? I was frantic now, running from room to room, looking for anything familiar. Nothing. Nothing but painted walls and polished hardwood floors. Blank. Lifeless.
​    I sank down to the floor in the hallway, across from what used to be the master bedroom. I leaned my head back against the wall, thoroughly defeated. Squinting a bit against the glare from the light, I noticed what looked like smears of dirt on the doorframe. A streak of anger tore through me. If they wanted to erase everything, the least they could do was keep it clean. I got up from my hole of self pity and peered at the frame. Realizing what it was, I released my surprise in the form of a choked sob.
    Hidden under a thin layer of white paint was a collage of lines and names, a growth chart mapping many, many childhoods.
    I pressed my forehead to the surface, tears pooling in my eyes. I ran my fingers over the names of my cousins, my aunts and uncles.
    My name.
    I was crying uncontrollably now, tears dripping down my face and spattering on the floor. And then, it didn't matter anymore. The layers of paint, the new tiles, the polished floors, none of it. Because underneath it all, the house was still the same. And that was enough for me.

​    "You! How did you get in here?"
​    I looked up from the doorframe to see a man in a blue jumpsuit, paint roller in his hand. He peered at me from under the brim of his hat with skeptical eyes. I pulled the key out from under my shirt and held it up.
    "This was my grandparents' house."
​    His eyes softened. "Well, I'm sorry to tell ya, sweetheart, but this house doesn't belong to yer family anymore. So, technically, yer trespassing."
    I groaned.
    "Look, if ya get out of here right now and don't make a fuss, I won't report ya, okay?" Nodding, I started to walk past him. "Wait a second now, missy. I'm gonna need to take yer key. We thought we got all the copies, but apparently we missed one. We can't just have 'em floating around, ya know?"
    I looked at him for a second, my brain processing his words. Then I pulled the key over my head and pressed it into his palm.
    I walked out the door without another word.


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  • Kaitlyn ❄

    This made me want to cry. So good.

    almost 3 years ago
  • Deji

    I absolutely adore the emotions in this, and the care with which you worded them. Brilliant!

    about 3 years ago