Sunday, April 30, 2006


In the morning, my eyes open quickly to the dazzling sunlight pouring in past the open blinds. Some days, it takes me a moment to get my bearings--mind rifling through the categories of thought...old paper files fluttering, memories rising and falling in the gauzy curtains--until I place myself, a woman not a little girl...the mother not the child...the lover and not the Romantic gazing out onto the sleeping streets with a powerful mix of longing and joy in the neighbor's veiled window-glow.

This is home. I rise from bed and descend the squeaking stairs. Kettle of Chai goes on before I am even fully awake. I think of my mother's steeping mug of morning tea on the creamy countertops. That fragrance perfumed my childhood and calms me, even now. Bare feet on the scarred wooden floorboards--here where the piano was dragged out the front door--there where my high heels scuffed on an awkward prom night a lifetime ago.

My mother's azaleas bloom in the front garden bed...the shed my father built the summer I was born falls into ruin against time and the elements in the backyard. My younger brother's handprints are fixed in the cement around the deck sister's angrily carved missive, "I want to go to Spain." still scrawls on the underside of the table where we eat every meal. Up the block, my older brother's name is inked onto a lightpost in his looping messy refrigerator still holds a talisman of his generic brand cream soda now almost eighteen years old--the last of a case he never finished. At night, when M. and I tuck under our covers and whisper to one another--only I am aware of a remembered ghost whose bedroom this still really is to me. I remember my brother latching this same door for silence and forcing open he same stubborn screens on warm evenings. I pick up laundry on the pine floor and there is a dark stain bled into the wood from where my brother dropped his gentian violet foot medicine bottle, spilling it over the now ripped-out brown carpet to wound me on sight these many years later.

My children play in bedrooms that were once mine. The baby's was the lavender and lace of age six or seven. The boyo's was the peach and map of the world wall from adolescence. The one now was mine then, reclaimed years after my brother's death when I was bold and terrified--painting his paneled walls brilliant white, trying not to cry. It is my mother's bulbs I unearth in the garden when I am planting my own flowers. My father's old wiring confounds M. each time he tries to hand a new lamp or change out an electrical socket.

I was the girl who dreamed of a gypsy life--India, the Amazon, Kenya, Australia, the wilds of London, Paris, and Rome's craggy marbled streets. Everest, Egypt, Aztec ruins and cave diving in tropical blue waters. This--the world--was where I thought I would live. I'd send back smeared postcards from each stop...torn journal pages recording my passport a veritable scrapbook of a vagabond's dreams.

But, here I am. Where I live is the house I grew up in...purchased from my mother a year after the birth of my son. The walls exhale and I breathe in the old stories. The sounds of my parents fighting downstairs or joking in the older brother's blaring stereo shaking the teeth in my sister's laughter curled into a comma at the bottom of the steps with a phone pressed to her younger brother's rich newborn cry. These echo for me now when my husband cranks up the speaker volume, when the telephone glues itself to Petunia's giggling mouth, and the boyo and Rosie argue loudly in the entryway, their voices cutting through time.

Why I live where I live is a question my words cannot begin to explain. Every day, I evolve from daughter to sister to mother to lover to adult and back again. Spanning the past and present when I sit and sip my tea, each moment feels weighted and pregnant with meaning. If these walls could talk...they'd tell me of things I already know like the backs of my hands, the taste of my mouth, and the view from my bittersweet bedroom windows at night.

Sunday Scribblings: Why I live where I live


Blogger GreenishLady said...

Such a beautiful and poignant piece of writing. Thank you.

1:55 PM  
Blogger Susannah said...

Delia, that was just beautiful, gorgeous, such a rich tapestry you weave with your words - and in your life, your home... i want to drink chai tea with you at the table where i could find your sister's scrawls
(an email's on its way!)

2:31 PM  
Blogger Shuku said...

What an absolutely poignant piece. 'Laughter like a comma' - such a beautiful evocative phrase. You take me through all the words and leave little pockets of recognition behind in the footprints of my psyche.

Thank you so much for sharing this.


2:55 PM  
Blogger deirdre said...

Such a beautiful, rich story. How comforting and brave it must be to live in the house with so much history and warmth. I loved this.

3:10 PM  
Blogger paris parfait said...

Gorgeous, evocative post, with terrific details of so many lives under one roof that's called home. Lovely!

4:50 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

So many wonderful images of a home. And a few sad - but real. Love the creaky stairs and the chai tea and all the little details and memories. Thanks for sharing a wonderful entry.

12:06 AM  
Blogger Endment said...

You have caught me up in time... I move through the house with you and your memories stir memories of my own...
I stop and take a deep breath --- I return to my own home and my own life :)
Thanks for sharing

8:44 AM  
Blogger Living Part Deux said...

So rich with images and love. So beautiful.

2:05 PM  
Blogger justjohanna said...

Wow! I'm completely engrossed. This is a beautiful piece. Lovely details that tell the story, rather than just drowning the reader with endless sentences. When do we get to read the rest of the story? I have the same sense that I have when I've finished reading a book that I don't want to end, like it was the first chapter - the teaser. I wish I had the time and patience (and ability) to tell my stories this way. There are so many! I definitely had the same gypsy dreams when I was younger - imagining myself traveling all over the world, living in some exotic place.

3:19 PM  
Blogger Kristine said...

Incredible writing pulling up so many rich images...
How great is that, to live in a house rooted in so many rich memories!

4:33 PM  
Blogger Kim G. said...

Magical writing. I was there in the house seeing all of your family at the different places of their lives, passing, intersecting, almost dancing in the music of past, present and future. Really wonderful - thanks for sharing this.

5:35 PM  
Blogger Bridget said...

gorgeous, gorgeous. i started my page to document the growth of my child and also to try and grow as a write, i will definetly be back for inspiration. you are fantastic.

12:24 PM  
Blogger art and soul said...

I too was taken back to step through and old family home for me, feeling the creaks and moans of the house as I read your fluid lines. Some of the phrases I want to write down and read over and over again, they are that good!

12:50 PM  
Blogger Amber said...

Wow! Really. You write in a voice I can truly hear in my head and in my heart. Wonderful and brilliant Sunday Scribble! And what a gift to live in your family home, with such deep roots for your family now.

I see you posted at a lot of the blogs I read, and I never knew what I was missing here! And I read Mothering Magazine, too. What a nice surprise.

I will be adding you to bookmarks for sure.


3:00 PM  
Blogger gkgirl said...

this was amazingly written...
and poignantly

it made me want to go
back and reread it from the
beginning again.

5:52 PM  
Blogger [a} said...

your words burn, they are so rich and breathtaking.

2:01 AM  
Blogger miss magic said...

Some pieces of writing just make me want to write and sing and dance and sleep all at once. They thrill, and amaze. Every word has a hundred different meanings, but all links to one sentence. Thoughts, feelings, all embroidered into this magical blanket of life. Thank you for sewing such a beautiful blanket.

7:43 AM  

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