There was only one room left for Amanda Hearns, licensed Realtor to inspect before she would list this house on the market. That room would be the upstairs bedroom that she had grown up in. This day for had been planned for months now, ever since her Dad passed away last April. The house was just an empty shell now, awaiting its next set of owners. Her Dad was the last resident to live here out of the eight members that made up the Hearns family. It was up to Amanda (the youngest of the clan) to make sure that this childhood home of hers would be ready to show to any potential buyers. She wasn’t sure how she would handle today’s visit. Surprisingly, Amanda was quite serene and detached from all the emotional baggage one might have to say Goodbye to such a sentimental place. She had gone from room to room checking for cleanliness or minor maintenance that needed to be addressed-cool as a cucumber. Although each room resonated a specific warm memory from Amanda’s youth, she stayed focused on the business at hand. They were some truly special times of innocence and warmth in this house but now it was simply just a piece of property to sell to the highest bidder. This is what it had to be to her today-strictly business.
She walked up the creaking steps, just as they’ve done for the majority of her life and stopped at the top. The bedroom she shared with her two older sisters, Allison and Gabrielle was the first room on the right. It was directly across from her folk’s old bedroom. This proved to be a convenient location numerous times for her Dad, who often would have to charge into his girl’s room to break up whatever shenanigans his two older daughter’s perpetrated.
Amanda opened the door to the room and stepped inside. It was empty now. The bunk beds her sisters slept in were long gone along with any posters of their current favorite boy band. She thought that the walls needed some light patchwork. The hardwood floors were in good shape due to the fact that the room had been covered up in wall to wall peach shag carpeting. She opened and closed the window, making sure it wouldn’t stick for the open house she was conducting on Sunday. Satisfied that the room looked about as good as it was going to get for an older home, she proceeded to check the inside of the closet. It too was empty like the rest of the room. She was getting ready to turn off the closet light when she noticed something bright laying on the floor against the left wall. She walked over and knelt down to get a closer look. In the corner on the floor, were some drops of dried paint. Assorted drizzled colors that included some reds, pinks and a few specks of yellow. She ran her fingers across the floor, knowing the paint was dry but wanting to visit its origin again.
She sat down on the floor as a rush of emotions came over her. Her thoughts race back to a day when this paint was fresh. She was ten years old and felt left out and alone in a crowded room of giant older sisters. She would pout and show to her parents the genuine frustration of a child who had nowhere to go that she could call her own. One rainy Sunday, Her Dad had taken her into this same closet with some brushes and different jars of paint. He then proclaimed to her that “from here on out, this wall of the closet was hers to do anything she wanted with it”. For the next few hours, they then proceeded to paint whatever Amanda’s imagination could dream up. There were unicorns in cars riding down a street made of grape jelly. Birds wearing sneakers flying down to meet green elephants with yellow spots. This wall became Amanda’s place to escape whenever she wanted her very own kingdom to live in.
The kingdom eventually got painted over when Amanda turned seventeen. Teenage years led to different interests replacing colorful fantasy animals. Today, it was just a wall that was attached to another wall that was going to belong to someone else.
Then it happened. Professional and cool Amanda Hearns pressed her back against another wall of the closet and wept uncontrollably. The tears flowed relentlessly down her cheek and spotted her navy blue blazer.
She thought of her father, the strongest man she’s ever known in her life. How he sat next to her in this very same closet getting paint on his pants, creating a castle for his little girl to live in made entirely of ice cream. How he secretly heard his youngest daughter’s pleas for any kind of identity that would separate her from her sisters. Amanda continued to cry in this hollow closet. She weeps, missing the days when a giant of a man took a small piece of sheet rock and made it the most wonderous place on earth.