Friday, 21 September 2012

The house with the green door

When you wake up in South Surrey, British Columbia, the strangest thing happens: you feel a breeze.

A sweet, cool breeze, twisting its way through your blinds, smelling of the salty sea and pine trees and damp grass. It is accompanied by silence, punctuated only by a bird or perhaps the very distant sounds of traffic if you really listen closely. The house is quiet too, with only the low hum of a washing machine, or the quiet, musical tinkle that it makes when it has completed a load. 

You can smell the fresh air all the way downstairs, even though you're inside. It permeates the sleepy veil that is dampening your senses, and lifts your spirit with a smile. If you're brave enough to stick your head out the front door and risk being seen in your colourful skivvies, you may see some roses. Actually, you will see roses, and many, many other flowers whose shades put your bright undergarments to shame and whose names you are never able to remember. In the driveway there is a little black acura, already beckoning to you as the morning sunlight glints off its hood. 

If you close the green painted door and walk on those cool hardwood floors to the kitchen, you may find a cup of tea waiting for you. The tea will have been freshly poured and is most likely accompanied by a grapefruit, sliced in half, with the pale pink flesh gently segmented many times. You may have to get your own spoon from the drawer, but you won't mind. While you sip your tea, (a Prince Charles blend of loose leaf with just a touch of milk), the deep, lush greens of the backyard will catch your eye. In it you will see years of throwing baseballs and running races and making forts and you will remember the first time you played with your dog by the arbour and the first time you came home from college and just lay on the grass, feeling the summer sun and breathing in the west coast air. You will remember how happy you were to be home then, and how happy you are now. 

If you turn around, you'll see the stove and the oven and the center counter that is almost as cluttered as it used to be, but not quite. There will still be bananas in the fruit basket, though. As you look around, you'll remember that this kitchen wasn't always white, and you'll remember that things have changed since you left. Though if you wander in to the family room, the carmel coloured Rhodesian Ridgeback will be lying in her crate just as you recall. She may raise a sleepy eye to your entrance, or if you're lucky she'll even cock her head and stand up,  trudging forward with floppy ears,  and a softly wagging tail, her toenails clicking on the hardwood floor. If you bury your face in her short fur or rub her soft tummy, you may begin to feel a twinge of sadness and regret. Though it wont last long, especially if you hear a gentle South African accent call your name from the other room, beckoning you back to finish your breakfast. 

This may not be my home anymore, but it sure as hell still feels like it. 

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