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There is a little boy/girl in the house.
It’s happening again. This time I’m not asleep. I know this house but how do I know this house? Something’s got to give. I used to see it in my dreams over and over again but now I it flashes through my head like a lightning strike. I can’t stop thinking about it. I told Mr. Wright here at the foster home about it. He knows why I can’t see the house but he won’t tell me. Where are my mom and dad….would they know whose house it is? Are they even alive?
The flowers are beautiful. How can they be in the same image as this dreadful house? When I see the image again, I am going to just look at the flowers. I can’t, I focus on the whites and yellows and greens but the house draws me in. I can’t sleep now; I know what will happen over and over again.
Mr. Wright is worried about me, he says I ‘m preoccupied and won’t talk to the other kids my age. They seem normal, what is wrong with me? It must be my fault. It is my fault. Something happened in that house and it was my fault.
Mr. Wright says we are going to take a trip today. It will answer some questions but I should know that it is too soon to understand everything. We are leaving and heading towards the outskirts of town…I remember that small grocery store, “hey” I said, “stop” …I used to go in there when I was very young and my dad would….I remember my dad being with me! This is the town where I used to live. Where are they now, why did they put me in a foster home?
It was beginning to sleet when we pulled into the graveyard. Mr. Wright knew where we were going, he had been there before. The rose granite gravestone read: “Millers …Dedicated Husband, Wife and Beloved daughter”….”Taken into your loving arms, April, 1980”. I’m Chase Miller. It’s my family. How did they die? Why don’t I remember? It’s my fault. I was only 3. Why am I still living….it must be my fault.
I am now 28 and married with two children of my own. The day that Mr. Wright took me to the grave site was the day my obsession mercifully stopped. When we got back to the foster home, Mr. Wright showed me a picture of a house….a house in crisp focus….the house that I couldn’t get out of my head. The house that was driving me insane. It was a spring day in April, I was only three and wandered out to mom’s flowerbed. She told me we would watch the flowers grow. Mom always went with me but that day, she was busy cooking breakfast and getting dad off to work and Leah off to school so I went on my own. The trauma of the natural gas disintegrating the house and everything I knew right before my very eyes was too much. The counselors told me that I coped by eliminating the past from my memory. Into my early teen years, the image of the house began to resurface and had to be dealt with. Now, I know it wasn’t my fault and I have the crisp, in focus photo of a blue and white house with a wonderful flower garden framed and hanging on our wall. A link to my past and a release to let me live the rest of my life in honor of a family….my family. Thank you Mr. Wright.
~ Dan Felstead
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