The Little White House Up on the Hill

It wasn't really ever my house. I only borrowed it. But my husband, he grew up in it. From his birth to the birth of his daughter, he never lived anywhere else. The little white house up on the hill was more than just his family's home; it was a part of who he is.

It was the very first place we lived in as a couple. It's the place I pretended to be a wife, learned what it meant to be a woman, it's the house where I rocked my first infant asleep when I brought her home from the hospital.

The floors, they were old and crooked by the time I was in charge of cleaning them. The linoleum stained and yellowing, perpetually dirty. Green shag rug added a certain charm to the old farmhouse. Handmade kitchen cupboards were stained by time and grease and rust lined the porcelain sink and the tub.

At the top of the shag-covered stairs, there was a stray bullet hole from a rogue hunter's rifle. Every time I passed by it I was tempted to trace the circular outline with my fingertips and I'd shudder with the weight of my own mortality.

The little white house up on the hill, with it's sloped ceilings and the wooden beam. Underneath the big bay window there was a hole in the wall where my husband accidentally put the forks of the tractor bucket through the house. In the ceiling in the living room there was a patch mark from when he was a teenager and was showing off how high he could jump. He put his head through the dry wall.

My daughter had her first accident there, tossed down the stairs one night when she was three weeks old. Her father, weary from lack of sleep, carrying her up to her crib, stepped on the tomcat that laid strewn out on the step. The cat screamed, Boo swore, and the baby was flying. Time suddenly froze. I couldn't get to her quick enough. She landed with a soft thud on the carpeted floor, no worse for wear but her two parents frightened enough for a lifetime. That was the first time I spent the night in the hospital because of my child. It was not to be my last.

When I got home the next day the cat was once again sprawled on the same stair with no remorse.

Wedding plans and baby names were discussed. Dreams deliberated, promises made. A new family was birthed, once again, within the walls of the tiny white house up on the hill.

She wasn't my house, not really, although at one point I desperately wanted her to be. I only borrowed her for a short while. But it was in that heartbeat of time my dreams came true. I had Boo and a family, and I became a thread in the tapestry of history of the little white house up on the hill.

Eventually my husband and I had to push our dreams aside and we left to chase new ones, but there was always a softness in our hearts for the house my husband grew up in, the house that helped create our family.

Time is a cruel mistress and like people, the small white house up on the hill grew frail and decrepit. Her bones creaked under the weight of old memories and weakened wood. Time stops for no one, for no house.

With every pinch of the claw, the dreams of so many were laid to rest. The letting go was loud and rough and violent.

In the end, there was nothing left but dust and dirty cheeks marred with an odd tearstain. The small white house on the hill; ashes, a photograph to fade, a memory of time forgotten.

I won't forget. And I know my mother-in-law won't either. Thank you for sharing the little white house up on the hill with me.