On your last day, walk around it when no one else is there. Even after just five years, it’s incredible how much changes, how many ghosts dance in every corner, every room. There is a pureness in solitude, in seeing only fragments of what your mind remembers, in walking amongst your own ghosts.
On the pool patio, listen as silent music blares, watch as friends laugh and talk all around you as they swim, sit in groups either talking or playing video games, or pass by the snacks and drinks. How many people have gone through there? What friends will never set foot here again? Can you remember the last time you saw some of these faces? You watch as people walk through you with nerf guns in hand and even those without are content throwing nerf darts. There is no rhyme or reason, just chaotic fun. How many times did we play Mario Kart here? Though the same core was there every year, every year different faces appeared and disappeared.
The tennis courts where your father and you played tennis, one of the few times you could discuss anything other than school and logistics. You loved those times, and any time the anxiety gives way to a goofy smile or the love of life you know you inherited. You are thankful for the foundation in education he helped you build, for you would never be who you are without it.
In the living room, you and your mother whisper about friends, about the stresses of school, about pain, about books, about life. The outlet for the million feelings that swirled within you, that demanded the escape you were willing to give with no one else. Thank you for your strength.
The music room with the notes that echo, the floor of your room where your sister waited for you to wake up, the tiny patio next to her room where you let out your anger on the bag. The garage with its rotation of used cars, one of which your father gave you. Your sister’s room, empty of a bed or any of her belongings. The front door she never came back through.
The basketball court where you spent dozens of hours practicing, hoping, and in the end, you never broke through.
The house that gave you home, the solid memories through which ghosts flit and laugh forever in your memory.
Not all ghosts are painful. Some laugh and play as you remember them, even as you leave.
On your last day, take one more look around, and say goodbye.