Empty rooms filled with stories untold
March 11, 2016
THE OLD HOUSE had been forsaken
I have no idea.
The old house was falling apart.
Age, I guess it was.
Nobody loved it anymore, and it had been left with the ghosts of fading memories to rest forevermore and maybe even in peace.
The old house represented one of the last remnants of an abandoned America.
Decaying houses, weathered gray by time and neglect.
Old white clapboard churches.
No wind to ring the bells.
And sometimes, there were no bells in the steeple tower.
Homes where only memories resided.
My mother would look at them until they were out of sight in our rearview mirror.
And she always possessed the same thought.
It never left her.
“I wonder what those old walls could tell us if only they could talk,” she said.
The walls know all of the stories.
A girl in love.
A boy marching off to war.
A baby’s first cry.
A mother’s last cry.
A father who never comes home again.
Was it war?
Was it fear?
Was it another woman?
The old houses witnessed joy.
Neighbors no longer remember who lived there.
Or when they left.
Or why they left.
I’ve knocked on doors and asked.
I’m a lot like my mother.
I look at the weathered old houses ask the same question she did.
What would those old walls tell me if only they could talk?
But the walls remain silent.
They hold tightly to their secrets.
We can only guess.
We’ll never know the truth.
Not all of it.
The empty room is some family’s library, filled with stories that will never be told. When the old house finally dies, the stories go to the grave with it.