As many long-term couples do, my house and I took a break for a few years. My family’s brief move to Nigeria, where my father had a two-year work commitment, followed by my parents’ hope of moving to New York City soon after our return to America, necessitated renting out indefinitely the home I’d lived in since age 4. I wistfully thought of my “old house” while living in a Nigerian flat and, temporarily, a Cannondale apartment; despite my parents’ reminders of how often my sisters and I had once complained about the aged appearance and draftiness of the house, I missed its familiarity and charm. After deciding that finishing high school in Wilton would be the best option for us, my parents finally moved us back into our childhood home.
The house we moved into, however, is not the same house my younger self under-appreciated several years ago. My old house had a trampoline, a pink toilet, bright orange walls in the mudroom, a bunk bed with flowered covers in my bedroom, ugly upstairs carpeting, and no TV in the living room. Upon returning, we — my handy oldest sister to be exact, with some help from the rest of us — ripped out the carpeting and painted the floors and walls white, gave away the trampoline to a family with young children, and turned my old bedroom, once a pink paradise for a 10-year-old, into a modern, mostly grey and white teenager’s room. My two-years’ new house is the manifestation of four years of dramatic growth and change, both in my parents’ decorating style and my own habits. I watch Netflix on the couch where I used to read Harry Potter and Little House on the Prairie; I spend hours trying to tan by the pool rather than doing handstand contests in the water with my sisters, who are now in college; I study late at night at the dining room table, once the proud backdrop for colorful drawings and clay sculptures. My dog, who used to escape every time we opened the back door and terrorize our neighbors, now prefers to spend his time lounging peacefully on the living room rug.