As I pull into the driveway after a two and a half hour drive, I notice many changes. This once familiar, green, bursting-with-life place is now empty of people. All the trees and corn are turning. Leaves are covering the drive and yard. Back by the shed, the beautiful trees with orange, yellow, and green leaves engulf the border of the buildings and old vehicles. Seven vehicles always used to be parked up front, but mine is the only one home now.
I walk into the house after scoping out the landscape. As I walk through the garage, I notice it’s still just as cluttered with shelves of paint and other random items that collected as time went on. The smell seems different in the garage. It smelled more like fall. I wondered if someone put some candles in the garage as I walked into the house.
My fear was everything would be different. Much worse is what I saw though: everything looked the same. It still had its homey mess in the kitchen, living room, and dining room showing that this house was lived in and still used. However, as I walked through to the bathroom, it didn’t feel the same. I took one step into the bathroom and turned on the lights. The bathroom was a mess. Clothes were all over the floor and make up was all over the sink. This bathroom was definitely getting its fair share of use. I walked out and went straight to the room at the far end of the hall. I walked in to see an empty bedroom with no life. All the pictures were gone and the room was clean.
Nothing like it used to be. That’s when it hit me: the difference in the whole property wasn’t that people weren’t present, but it didn’t feel like home anymore.