• Hayley Hengst

What This House Saw



I’m sitting on the floor of our master bedroom.  The house is basically empty at this point, save for the three pieces of furniture that neither of us want to take to our respective houses, and that no one has claimed, on any of the 15 websites I’ve listed them on.  Someone DOES want to buy the dresser though, and that’s why I’m still sitting here.  The buyers are on their way to get it, and I’m waiting for them.  After that, I suppose we’ll have to come back tomorrow and haul the last three pieces out to the curb…see if anyone wants them for free….and then…that’s it.  We won’t live here anymore.  We won’t live TOGETHER anymore.  How strange.  And as I sit here in this empty bedroom, my mind is just full to the brim, of all the things this house SAW.


The window that my back is against? That window faces the back porch. And as I sit here, I’m remembering how not that long ago….gosh, maybe a year and a half ago? Tops?....this house saw he and I slow-dancing out there together, while Amos Lee played from our speakers. That was a good night. A really good night.


The house saw us out there again though... only six months later. This time, we weren‘t dancing. This time, we were sitting. Sitting and drinking wine, as it poured buckets of rain around us, and as words were uttered that changed literally everything. And as the house could most assuredly testify, nothing was ever the same again after that night.


Before that though, the house saw cannonballs in the backyard pool. It heard squeals of laughter.

It heard us deliver the dreaded “sex talk” to our oldest. Man, that was a funny night. The questions asked! Lord have mercy. The house witnessed that. And had to have laughed. (And also felt awkward)


It saw a crawler turn into a walker.

A diapered butt turn into an underweared one.


It saw a lot of first days of school.


It saw girlfriends gathered around the pool for days of drinking and sunning.

Of course, it also saw those same girlfriends gather around my pajama- clad and forlorn self, arms full of wine and snacks and hugs, but mouths unsure of what to say.


One afternoon, it saw me hand the phone to him...too nervous to even answer myself...when my own mom was calling to report the results of her CT scan.

It saw him comfort me, when the news wasn’t good.


That house saw so many conversations unfold on the back porch…the front porch swing…the bedroom…the kitchen table, as we tried to make it work, but just couldn’t.


It saw deer and bluebonnets in the front yard, and cut-you-to-the-quick words uttered on the inside. (It heard lots of sweet words uttered on the inside, too)


It saw 2 bags packed by the front door because we were leaving for Colorado together.

It saw 5 bags packed, because we were all leaving for the beach together.

It saw only his bags packed, because he was leaving alone.


This house saw us sit down on the couch with our kids and give them an announcement I never thought we’d give them.

It saw them and I order Chinese food later that night at 10 PM, talking AND laughing AND crying and answering all SORTS of questions.


It saw the first Christmas my sister had spent with us in a long time…her first SOBER Christmas in a long time…newborn little son curled up in her lap.


It saw basketball played in the driveway by a LITTLE boy who wasn’t really all that good, grow into a bigger boy, who was REALLY good. He shot hoops there with his mom. His dad. His papa. His real Uncle Josh and his “fake” Uncle Justin.


It saw a skunk spray our friends, and a criminal outrun the police through our very yard (random and random)


This house saw ALL of that, and so much more.


This house seems exceptional to me, for all it saw.


In reality, it isn’t all that exceptional, though.


What this house has witnessed is nothing more than just what ALL of your houses have seen… LIFE. Good and bad. Expected and unexpected. Mundane. Tragic. Joyful. The highest of highs and the lowest of lows. Hard and easy. Meaningful and meaningless. I can’t make sense of any of it. Life is unpredictable, unreliable and uncertain …..but ALWAYS a story.

Now, I am moving into a new house. Starting a new life.

I already know the new house will no doubt witness it’s fair share of…well…just everything.


It may see a bike-rider turn into a driver

A heart that currently belongs only to mama, belong to someone else

It may stand by and watch as someone new captures my heart, too. Or not.


I've learned to not fret too much though. To sit back and enjoy the ride. A story will unfold here too, and it may not all be happy. It will be a story though, and if I’m being honest, there’s nothing I love more in all the world than a good story.

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