Now and then, I dream about the house I grew up in. It’s been happening less often over the years; I lived there for the first twenty-five years of my life, but it’s been about twenty years since I left for good. I don’t think I was ever inside it again; my mother moved out into an apartment before I came back from California for my first visit.
Last night, it was falling apart around me. I tried to close and lock the back door and the lock halfway sheared out of the door. The ground beneath the place was clearly shifting and it clearly wasn’t long for this world. Clearly. Nothing else of import happened in that dream; a lot of the time when I dream I’m there I’m afraid of Something coming to get me and need to make sure the doors are closed, draw the blinds in my room lest They see me. But this time? Just an old shell of a place, falling apart.
Which is a thing it did already. When Marie-Jeanne sold it, there were cracks developing in the ceiling between one corner and the other of the house, as the concrete slab it had been built on was sinking unevenly. Not a good choice for building in a swampy city at all, really. I visited it when I came back the first year after Katrina, and it was still standing, but somewhere between then and now it’s been torn down and replaced with a two-story building. The trees in the front and back are gone, too – the little ones my family planted when I was a kid out on the servitude, the pine in the front yard, and the big sycamore tree that dominated the back yard. The only remnant is a bent line of wire fence between that plot and the one behind it; I think it’s probably the same one left over from when I was a kid.
The house on the plot behind it, and the one next door, are still the same houses that were there my whole life. But the single-story mustard-yellow one I grew up in is, indeed, gone, and has been since at least 2007. Street View won’t go any earlier than that, when it shows the lot with the two big trees but no house; the next image is 2011, when the new place is starting to go up.
The last time I dreamed of it, Mom was there, but we kinda knew she was really dead. This time it was just me. Me and entropy. I wonder if I’ll ever dream about the place again.
oh god the little strip mall up on Chef Menteur Highway is a Wal-Mart now.