You might not remember me, but I remember you.
You were always patiently waiting with a cold seat of cement and a step for my feet. I didn’t use you to go in and out, the family used the side door, but rather, you were my place to linger.
You were small, but grand enough to greet all our guests: the ones arriving for holiday parties, wearing fur-collard coats and black leather tie shoes, the family and friends gathering for wedding feasts, and the suited boyfriends carrying pink corsage boxes in one quivering hand, while poking the doorbell with the other.
You worked as a team with the glass storm door behind you ~ especially on Halloween. That was YOUR night. You were a stage for the little goblins and hobos, the clowns with red noses and hair made of yarn, the witches, the pirates, the queens covered with silks and crowned with jewels.
Thanks for your firm support the day little what’s-her-name and I sat on your top step, watching a line of ants, when she stated that ants were God’s creatures and that stepping on them was a sin. If not for your steadfast holding power, I would have sank under the weight of the clear impossibility of skipping carelessly on the earth with my little white sneakers — ever again. You heard me argue with her about it and you didn’t judge either of us. I don’t know what ever happened to what’s-her-name, but wherever she is, I’ll bet she doesn’t even remember saying that, or even thinking it.
That’s the strange thing about memory. You remember moments which made a difference.
I think the time I liked you best was that unhurried summer afternoon, when my brother and I sat in our short shorts, discussing our favorite seasons and he pointed up through the leaves on the tall tree above you, attempting to describe the quality of light that lanced through the bright green maple leaves, then pointing down at the moving shadows on the sidewalk — and my mind opened to the concept of words making pictures.
All these memories have you at the scene.
You were there for hopscotch, and walking on stilts, snow days, chats with boyfriends, smoking with girlfriends. You never tired of your vigil, standing at the front door, under mother’s upstairs windows.
You are fixed in my mind, at the scene of these little moments of realization and growth. Silent, but always present. I loved you!
A little girl from the last century