Missing Places

You ever miss something that no one else does?

Back in October(?), shortly before I moved, I was taking my dog for a walk around a reservoir close to my house. I ran into my neighbor there, which usually happened anyway whenever I went there (I think he jogged there a lot). He was the father of my best friend from when we were kids. He lived next door and I used to be at his house every day, playing with my best friend. Honestly, as far as childhood memories go, I think I have more memories of his house than mine.

My best friend moved into that house a year after I moved into mine. I was 8 and he was 7. I don’t exactly remember how we met; we probably just saw each other playing in our yards and started playing together (we didn’t have fences at the time). I do remember him inviting me over to play Super Nintendo, though.

As I’ve mentioned in several previous posts, playing video games was a big thing for me and him while growing up. Naturally, I have a lot of memories of playing them, especially in his room and basement. Occasionally his dad would move the games into this larger spare room. He had a lot of cousins (I think his father alone had something like 7 or 8 siblings), so having the extra space was nice when everything wasn’t hooked up in the basement.

At one point, I started going to his house each morning before school. I don’t remember why; part of me thinks it was to avoid dealing with bullies at the bus stop, but I’m not sure. All I remember is eating cereal and watching cartoons with him, mostly Pokemon, when each morning was a new episode.

We drew a lot, too. Cartoon characters, video game characters, our own made up characters and comics, a lot of stuff, really. I don’t think we limited ourselves to any one room, but there was a guest room across the hall from his room that I remember spending the most time in. There was a set of double windows that let so much natural light in, and the room didn’t have a lot of stuff in it to start with, so there was plenty of space to stretch out on the floor and draw.

That same room had a computer in it. His family had the Internet before mine did, so I remember going online with him to look up stuff about Pokemon cards or pictures of things to print so we could draw from them. I think his house was the only place I listened to the magic that was dial-up.

I’ve been wondering if it’s strange to be thinking of his house so often lately. A lot of the memories I’ve been thinking about involve that house, and since I just moved, maybe it’s not too weird.

Anyway, so I ran into his dad at the reservoir. Turns out, he hasn’t been living there lately. He’s been trying to sell it and only came back once or twice a week to tidy up. It’s kind of weird how we moved into our houses around the same time and moved out of them around the same time, too.

But where I was sad, nostalgic, and almost even mourning moving out of the house and neighborhood I’d grown up in, my neighbor was telling me how he couldn’t wait to get rid of that house. And I don’t know why, but hearing him say that really depressed me. I wanted to tell him how much fun I had in that house, how important it was to my childhood, but I didn’t. Me and his son went our separate ways when I entered high school, and although we’re all on okay terms now, I thought it would have been inappropriate to share those thoughts.

But I couldn’t help but wonder what happened with that house after I stopped seeing his family on a regular basis. I don’t remember anyone in that house wanting to get out of it; I always assumed they were pretty content living there. But my childhood eyes could only see so much, I guess. Maybe my neighbor always hated it, maybe he didn’t. But it was just so depressing to know I wanted to walk around it one last time before I left, and he just wanted it off his hands.

And it’s not like the fact that someone else having completely different feelings towards a place than you do is a news flash to me or anything. It’s just… I don’t know. I don’t really know what my point here is. Just seeing him there at the reservoir, telling me how he couldn’t wait to get the hell out of there, knowing it was the last time I was going to see him, learning his son, my old best friend, moved shortly before and I would probably never see any of them ever again… I don’t know, it just made me miss his house even more. Because people will come and go, and I suppose places can do the same thing, too, but the house just seemed more permanent in that regard. Like, I know things will never ever go back the way they were, but at least I could always look at the house and be reminded of all the memories attached to it.

But his attitude towards it… I don’t know. It just really bummed me out, I guess. Maybe I was hoping those memories were important to another person, too.

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