Feathers From the Sky(7)By: Posy Roberts
It was the principle of the thing. This was my childhood home, and I had so many memories here.
While all my siblings asked Mom and Dad questions about the move and Dad’s new job, I ate. I didn’t really taste the flavor of one of my favorite meals, but I ingested calories. Then I quietly excused myself and took refuge in my bedroom, which was empty for at least a few minutes.
I’d taken this room for granted, with the molding over the door that fell off when you hit it just right, exposing a little nook where I used to hide twenty-dollar bills from my brothers and cigarettes from my parents. It wasn’t a great room. It was tiny, the paint was peeling where poster after poster had been taped up and removed, and the glow-in-the-dark stars that used to cover the ceiling and act as a nightlight for us now barely glowed at all.
The whole house was tiny and had barely fit the needs of our huge family even when we were small kids, but the point was really that it had met our needs. It met Mom and Dad’s needs for thirty-five years, and even before they had Jennifer.
There was a small knock on the door.
“Come in, Mom.”
It surprised me when Dad walked in. He sat on my bed near my feet. I was sitting there in my childhood bed hugging my pillow like a scared ten-year-old, not like the twenty-six-year-old adult I was.
“I know you weren’t expecting this, and I didn’t realize how much of a bomb I was dropping out there until the words were out of my mouth. I’m sorry, Cal. But this is a great opportunity for me. I’ll be the head of the department. I won’t have to teach as much, and I’ll be able to focus more on my research.”
“You’ll be closer to me too,” I said, doing my best to look on the bright side.
“That’s true. We can probably spend more time together. I didn’t think you older kids would think it was that big of a deal. We’ve been slowly easing Jackson into the reality of this because we figured he’d be the most affected. It looks like I was wrong.”
I was more interested in the UFO and alien pattern on my pillowcase than I should’ve been. I was also having a hard time looking him in the eye.
“What’s going on in that head of yours?” Dad asked with a very gentle tone.
“I don’t know. I keep thinking, ‘This is my home. How can they just sell it?’ You know?” I finally looked at him.
He looked confused but nodded. “I’ll do my best to understand, but you know my parents moved every year or two when I was a kid. Home to me was where my pillow and toys were. And by the time I was your age, I was already married, living here with two kids and doing everything in my power to finish up my doctorate so I could someday be a professor.”
“I know. I remember the stories.”
“What’s so special about this house? It’s a dump. I know it’s our dump, but there’s really nothing here for anyone anymore. It was a quiet, safe place to raise kids, and we could afford the house on our nothing income back then. What’s this really about to you?”
I shook my head and chuckled under my breath. “I’m just being a sentimental prick, that’s all.”
“It’s alright to be sentimental. Better than what those other six are doing. They’re already fighting over who gets the piano. Like I’d ever let the piano go, when playing is one of my few sources of true stress relief.”
He pulled me into a hug and ruffled my hair as he laughed.
“Be careful of the do, man. I worked hard to get it looking messy and sexy at the same time.”
He sat back and looked at me. “You’re going to find someone you want to make a home with, Cal. You’re not going to want anything to do with this place when you find her. Trust me. Finding that someone to join your life with is an amazing thing, and it transcends two-by-fours and sheetrock.”
I gave him a nod but didn’t say anything, so he smiled and left the room. I knew he was right. What I’d already built with Philip really was amazing, but because we rented, I never truly felt settled at our place. If we traveled the world like we’d planned, maybe I would never feel that sense of security I felt at my Mom and Dad’s house, just like Dad never felt it because of how his family moved all around.