She grew up in a house on Voight Drive in Indianapolis. It was an average house with white siding and a wooden garage door her father had made one summer. The inside wasn’t much different. Brown carpet covered most of the floors. She can recall how it used to swirl beneath her feet when she would run around in circles, reminding her of chocolate ice cream and fudge. The walls were white, save those in her and her sister’s bedroom. But all the walls were marred with remnants of children’s dirty fingers. Maybe they aren’t anymore. Her father kept the house after the divorce and lived there until his second marriage. Then he sold it. By now, layers of latex paint have been brushed across the old stains and smears to make way for new ones; the old carpet torn up and replaced with something less matted, less worn.
Nevertheless, that is the house where her memories reside. Ones of the many pets her family housed, of her first years of school, of learning how to live. No matter how often the walls are painted the marks and imperfections still seep through. With each additional coat they do grow fainter, but she can still find them easily. She knows where they are, where they always will be. They have become points of reference for her. How she knows who she is, what she is. They are why she came to love words, finding herself in another’s voice, someone who could say the things she could not. They are why she watched birds, longing for the freedom their wings gave them.
Years have continued to pass, changing how the house looks, how she looks. But beneath it all, they both have remained the same. The stains haven’t been cleaned up, they are still there. She still longs to have a voice of her own and wings.