Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Year(s) (01/20/11)
TITLE: The Attic
By Rachel Burkum
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ADD TO MY FAVORITES
It took a little work, but eventually I had cleared a big enough spot on the glass that I could see outside. The view was just as I remembered. Hills stretched on for miles and miles - into eternity, I imagined. Branches from a proud oak tree created a fanciful border through which to view. I remembered when those same branches barely reached the top of the first floor.
Turning from the attic window, I gazed across the dusty expanse. The light from the newly cleaned window seeped into the nooks and crannies, absorbed by golden floorboards. My mind’s eye began to see treasures of the past. There was Grandmother’s old chest - a chest full of delightful wonders of quilts, rag dolls and curious hats. A rocking horse waited patiently in the corner, its glass eyes shimmering with imagined life, while its mane and tale beckoned gentle strokes. On the far wall hung a collection of sun-faded photos - family members that would come to life if stared at long enough. A rainbow lay resting on the floor in the form of a braided rug to tickle one’s bare feet if they dared tread on its colorful rays. A full-length mirror in the corner became a stage, accepting of purple feather boas, high-heels and lipstick. The sparkling chandelier hung just low enough to entertain curious fingers while scattering prisms in every direction to be chased down and collected in jars.
The memories faded one by one until I was again staring at an empty attic full of cobwebs, musty rafters and telltale sounds of skittering mice. It was hard to believe that this had been my playground as a child. It was even harder to believe how much time had passed since I had been up here. Pinpointing when the change occurred wasn’t easy, but I distinctly remembered telling my mother that playing in the attic was for kids - I was too old for that now.
A wry grin creased my lips. If only I had known. If only I had known that years later, I would yearn for those childhood moments again. If only I had known that my heart would crave just one more visit to the imaginary world full of rainbows, dancing teddy bears and the most incredible tea parties ever hosted. If only I had recognized how precious those God-given moments were.
Now that I was here as an adult, I came burdened with busy schedules, impossible responsibilities and the disguised blessing of caring for my ailing grandmother. No longer was I the child who danced across this very floor. No longer was I the bright-eyed adventurer seeking treasure in antique baskets and boxes. No longer did I bear the innocent heart I once had.
Checking my watch, I knew I soon needed to return downstairs and prepare supper for Grandmother. Perhaps vegetable soup would be enjoyed on this brisk evening. After that would be bath time, then after that we would sit and watch her favorite shows on television until it was time for bed. Tomorrow morning I would need to rise and make breakfast before going into town to shop then return to do laundry, clean the kitchen, water the plants, feed the cats…
A feathery-looking object in the corner caught my eye and I approached with caution. On closer inspection, I realized it was a dusty, faded feather boa - purple at one time I thought. Dismounting it from the hook on the wall, I shook out the dust, coughing as the particles hit my lungs. Who knew what sorts of microorganisms were embedded in those feathers? I disregarded the germaphobic thought. Wrapping the boa around my neck, I sashayed across the floor, passing by that magical mirror. And when I reached the stairs and looked back over my shoulder, the playground was still there, waiting for the child within.
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