The chalk that stained the concrete with pictures is nothing more than dust by now and the laughter has all but faded. The sheet that covers the bikes is now faded and torn and the furniture has a fine coat of dust or pollen on it from remaining unused this past season. A mere memory of what this place used to be, the joy that it used to hold. As my eyes scan the objects that remain on the stone patio a breath escapes my lips and I close my eyes remembering the day I saw it for the first time.
The sun was shining and the day was hot, the laughter of my daughter was music in the air as she moved from room to room inside the empty apartment. I had only been there ten minutes and already I knew it was going to be my home. As I stood beneath the awning of the low stone wall of the patio I envisioned the glass table where we could sit while we ate outside. I saw the kids drawing on the cement in chalk and blowing bubbles out on the grass. I pictured a small grill that we could use on days like the one we were having, when we would have people over to show them how happy we were. I imagined warm nights where we would sit outside and talk and laugh for hours just enjoying the air, the stars and each others company. Everything about this place screamed home but this patio, this patio screamed a future that gave me a smile I could not wipe away.
As I run my fingers over the glass table I remember the nights where conversation turned into arguments. I feel the smiles turn into tears and wince as I can almost feel their wetness hit the surface of the table as vividly as if it was happening right now. I force my eyes open so the sound of silence takes over the sound of anger and the wind rushes in to usher away the pain that happened so very long ago. My eyes catch something blue on the ground and I laugh, a piece of chalk yet to be ground into dust as the rest has been long since used up and I bend to write the kids names on the ground. As I admire my handiwork I smile and remember how many chalky footsteps covered the carpet after hours of drawings took place right here and thousands of memories were made. I let those memories seep in to replace the ones that try to hard to drag me down.
Taking a seat in a chair that has long since felt a warm body I idly draw in the dust on the table. Hope, dreams, forever…words I trace into the residue on the table. Words I believe in for me, for them and those words give me a strength that I know I have inside. I hear laughter in the house, this time I realize though that my house is already full. Full of love and warmth, the house which is already mine and I don’t have to reach out to grab that dream because I already have it. So what if the dream is different than when I held this moment for the first time. The laughter is still there, the opportunity to make memories worth smiling upon is on me now. I seize the moment to grab a rag and dust off the table. The words I drew are gone but the sentiment is till there. The sentiment to dream a new, the hope always, to love forever. The laughter in my house is sweet music to my ears and I look around at the patio with a glimmer of expectation in my heart. There will be laughter again, sweet memories to dwell on, chalk filled days and wish filled nights. I can feel it in my soul.