When I was 15 years old, my family moved from Massachusetts to Rochester, NY. Even though I was basically loathed by nearly the entire town from whence we came, moving was still difficult for me- because I did have a few good friends, because I would miss my house, and because it was too strange being so far away from our whole family (even though most of them weren't too fond of us either). On the day we moved, I hid in my beloved closet with the slanted ceiling- the same place I hid my diaries, the same place I'd sit when I'd talk on the phone with my friends when I didn't want my sister spying on me- and I tried to stay. Obviously, it didn't work. As we left, I tried so hard to burn every detail of our house into my memory. The grey stone tile in the foyer, the green carpet, the island table in the kitchen where I talked for an hour with my mom after school every day, the strange random window in between the dining room and the living room- my room, with it's pink carpet and it's slanted ceilings- the reason why I could never have the fancy canopy bed of my dreams- and the giant rock in the backyard where I'd go whenever I pretended to run away.
I have a tendency towards sentimentality.
When we first started looking at houses in Rochester, my father and my sister had their hearts set on a new McMansion in Pittsford- and my mom and I wanted to live in one of the old, neat looking houses in Brighton. My mom and I won that battle, after we looked at yet another McMansion and she layed down in the driveway to protest even walking into it. We'd just stopped by the McDonald's there, and there were, as she said "too many women with blonde ponytails." After that, we looked at a variety of houses in Brighton- one of which even had an indoor swimming pool- but when we saw the house that we eventually moved into... it was love at first sight. Especially for me- especially for one reason. It had an amazing treehouse. A glorious treehouse- so big that my father, at 6'2" could stand up in it- with a patio, and buttery yellow shutters that matched the house. It was true love!
The first, and best friends I made in Rochester had referred to my house for some time before I moved there as "The Sacred House" due to the bright security lights that went on each evening at sundown. It was an immediate sort of friendship- the kind you only form when you're 15 or so- where within a week someone can become your best friend for life. We'd hang out in my treehouse and smoke cigarettes and pot after school, talk some shit, make up some schemes to seduce some unsuspecting dreamboat... and when I got the giant trampoline for Christmas that year? Well, my backyard was the fuckin' balls.
I loved that treehouse. I wrote a shit ton of crappy, angst ridden poems in it. I'd go there to be alone after I'd had a stupid fight with my parents, when I wanted to write something super personal in my diary. It was the site of so many first kisses, games of truth or dare, near deaths of boys who thought jumping from it and onto the trampoline was the best idea ever, broken hearts... and of course, one of the main highlights of any party I ever threw. In some ways, it was almost more of a home than my actual house. Because it was mine.
Yesterday, I talked to my Dad on the phone, and he told me that the tree had gotten too big. That the treehouse had become dangerous, and was likely to fall. It was going to be torn down.
I begged like I have never begged for anything in my whole life- and even while I was talking, I realized how ridiculous I probably sounded. "PLEASE get an estimate on fixing it! It has to be fixed! I will raise the money! I will pay for it! We'll hold a benefit concert! I'll collect donations! Do you even know how many people have a sentimental attachment to that treehouse? We will all band together and save it!" I even considered trying to get landmark status for my treehouse.
But when I called this morning to try again to change their minds, they told me it had already been torn down. They were glad to see it go, they said.
I can honestly tell you that I haven't cried like this since- well, since I was 20 and the worst thing ever happened. We don't cry in my family, you know. We're from New England. My mother's rule is that you're only allowed to be upset about something for 10 minutes, and then you must go on about your business. If you'll believe it, I'm actually the most emotional person in my immediate family- and shit, I'm practically made of stone.
I called again to ask them to save the shutters for me- the buttery yellow shutters that matched the shutters on our house. Everything was already gone, they said, but they'd try and find them. If you ask my parents, I am being simply ridiculous. They're cracking up. In fact, until I lost my phone in a cab because I was so frenzied and upset, they thought I was joking. Maybe because last night I said "But where am I going to go now to write crappy poems and smoke pot and seduce teenage boys!"
"We're going to turn it into a Zen garden. You can go there," she said.
Maybe I'm overreacting because I'm far away from home, and you know how things are- when you go home you want things to be the same, even though they never are. I have the worst time letting go of things, and I always have. It's why I'll carry a vendetta with me until the day I die, and why I've never been good at throwing things away. My mother is very good at throwing things away and has no attachment to material objects. I, however, still bitter about the time she threw my awesome lime green plaid bellbottoms out because she hated them- and that was sophomore year of highschool. I am so not Zen, I know.
I came home, and I broke down in tears, because I lost my phone, because my damned yarn kept falling out of my bag, and because I couldn't accept the official end of an era that cognitively I realize ended almost ten years ago. Maybe I'm nuts. I felt better though, afterwards.
I'll never have a treehouse again-I'll never be 15, 16, or 17 again. That's probably a good thing, I realize, judging by the content of my diaries. But I do have a pretty neat balcony, and I'll have a new phone tomorrow or Thursday.
I still hope they find the shutters.