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Our heaven
O.W. Root

Our heaven

One day, we will move to a bigger place. But there isn't going to be any other place that holds these memories.

Just let me die now. Let this be heaven. The early afternoon when the sun hangs just above the trees. That summer air made hazy and yellow. The little breeze in the trees. Long shadows on the wall. This lazy world in sepia. Maybe if I die right now, at this very instant, this imprint of the world will become eternity and I won’t have to leave. I close my eyes, and the last thing I see is the state where I stay frozen like a Polaroid.

This small house with all its problems. The old windows. The bad insulation. The pipe in the basement that overflows when you do laundry and dishes at the same time. The weeds in the front. The awful bathroom with the terrible wallpaper and the geriatric shower. The patchy grass in the back.

One day, we will move to a bigger place. We will be happy for more room, greater convenience, and fewer problems. That’s why we will move. And as we drive down the street and away from this house, we will cry. We will talk about how this was the place we raised our kids when they were young. Behind us.

That stupid f***ing white floor in the kitchen. Who in the world puts a white floor in the kitchen? A masochist. Do you have any idea how terrible it is to have a white floor in your kitchen with young children? We wash this floor every other day, and it is still disgusting. Whoever came up with this idea deserves life in prison.

But this is where we were a family. This is where the kids were young. This is where we were exhausted after bringing a newborn back from the hospital. Where one kid ripped a towel rack off the wall by dangling from a towel. Another picked away the terrible wallpaper. Where one drew all over the closet with colored pencil while we were trying to get ready in the morning. Where the back yard was a filthy, muddy mess littered with way too many toys. How did they keep getting those toys out of the garage?

The house where there was always fighting and then tears every night in the kids' room. It always meant one of us going back in there three or four times telling them to stay in bed until they finally gave up. The place where they still asked us every question like we knew every answer. The place where we were too tired and busy to realize how fast time was fading. It was speeding up.

There isn’t going to be any other place that holds these memories. This sh**ty little house is it. This is the place we will remember. This is our heaven, but we don’t really know it.

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O.W. Root

O.W. Root

O.W. Root writes about aesthetics and men's style, among other subjects. This essay originally appeared on his Substack, "Modern Lives."
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