My tires latch to the driveway I had spent collectively too much time on over the course of my life. Plenty of Pollock renditions unintentionally crafted with blood from various childhood endeavors stain the slanted, cracked concrete. Before my driver-side door even begins to become ajar, a familiar outline breaks through the stillness of the garage. “Hey buddy,” his voice rings out, soothing to the ear, his smile reaching to the ends of both of his own—his arms encircling me as they had so many times before.
This house smells the same as it did when I was a boy, its physical features only changed by the updated modernities of appliance-ware and china, when affordable. Another embrace welcomes me as soon the second half of my body makes it through the doorway, this one softer than the former. “Good to have you home, Scooch,” outlines her lips even before the words themselves break through them. I reciprocate the sentiment and try to smile even half as wide as they both were, two-to-one. I was outmatched.
The floorboards wince under my step, each one a realization that I now stand taller than my father, reminded of the progression of life through every tread. They almost seem to be conversing with one another, bewildered by the man that dwarves his former self. I manage to catch a glimpse at the stills taken at an earlier era, my age now more than tripled from the time of their initial capture, and notice that with the exception of the addition of a wrinkle or a few shots of gray, my parents faces seem unchanged. There’s an air of magic that encases this house, alleviating all the stresses of the outside world.
Everything is the same, not that I expected, or even wanted anything to be different, but maybe I was looking for some solace in knowing that the whole world was changing—not just me. It seems as though my parents had managed to suspend the hourglass from ticking, and this house assisted them—not giving way to the attritions of the passage of time. I check my watch, just in case.
Upon the commencement of conversation, my mind relieves itself of this quandary as I began to notice how much time had passed. There’s no shortage of speaking, no lulls, nothing too unreasonable or unimportant to touch on. Ranging from how the hometown team looks this year to plans of attempting philosophical enlightenment, the words flow like syrup off our tongues, sweet to taste—and hear. I sit, only moving according to necessity for emphasis or emotional conveyance, sliding further into the cushions of the couch.
My dad tells me the sprinklers were coming on this morning, while he tells me about the pain in his shoulder, which I peered over, and saw my mother using an assisted third leg to walk. Granted, my mother’s ailments were encouraged by a forlorn man gazing elsewhere on the road. But, still, there exists a feeling of acceptance, my parents are experiencing atrophy right in front of me. As my eyes wander back and meet my father’s, I fear he heard my thoughts, “Yeah, we’re getting old, buddy,” he pushes through a smirk. I smile back, unready to agree with him, and felt the first drop of rain.