Excerpt from Fractions of Myself, Divided By Me
By Erin Mantz
There's a dream I've had off and on for more than thirty years. A silver Schwinn bicycle is leaning against a bare, ivory-colored wall of an otherwise empty dining room-turned-master-bedroom. It's a sunny spring morning, but the room seems dark, and I am shivering. "The door will always be open for you, he says, gesturing toward the front door of our apartment, propped open for the moving men. "There will always be a place for you here. This is your home."
I want to believe him, my soon-to-be ex-stepfather. I want to imagine myself casually stopping by this first-floor apartment one day, to my beloved cork-wall bedroom covered in Grease and Teen Beat posters. My stepsister's Styx album would be playing the room next door, and my stepbrother's footsteps would echo loudly as he sauntered down the long, creaky hardwood floor.
I try to see myself coming back - to make myself believe it doesn't have to be over. But the moving truck is filling up outside, and it's time for me to go.
My mom and stepdad are getting a divorce. It's a dream, but it's also a memory. After five years, it was over.
I was only thirteen, but I already doubted that I could ever bring myself to actually come back, because it would be different. I'd be a visitor, and I wouldn't want to feel that.
I never did look back as my mom and I drove away. And I never returned to that too-small apartment I loved and called home until thirty-one years later, once everyone was gone, and I had a chance to show my own two sons, 9 and 13, where I "grew up." It had been a place with what was a blended and temporary family, but, for me, was very, very real. The boys seemed fascinated, but confused. They'd never met this "family" of my past. They never would...
Interested to hear how it's all turned out? Read the full story in Hey, Who's In My House, available on Amazon.com.
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