In order to get to the house I grew up in, you have to go down a long, dirt road. Actually, you have to take one of several long, dirt roads. No matter which direction you come from to get to the house, it is only approached by long and lonely dirt roads. But first, you have to drive out of the city limits into the county, and down the county highway. All the roads and highways have similar names: Old Highway 15, Old Sawmill Lane, Old Old Old.
Some of the roads may even be paved now, but I haven't seen them since the dirt days. I think it's telling that it was old dirt from every direction to the house. I frequently dream about the house, the neighborhoods, the roads. And in every dream it is an ever-growing long road home, filled with dirt, sometimes brambles and bushes and wide ditches to the farmhouses on either side. Sometimes it's winter, and we're slogging through feet of snow on the road and surrounding areas. Sometimes there are barking, mangy dogs in the farmyards. Sometimes there are other people or cars on the road -- maybe. Maybe I'm just seeing the dust they're kicking up. One time, I may have even dreamed a dragon behind a silo, but that's just silly.
I don't think in any of the dreams -- and I've been having them for well over twenty years now -- I don't think I ever reach the house. Moreover, I don't think I ever want to reach the house. The dreams are just filled with the loneliness of long dirt roads, brown empty fields, and the remembrance that yes, this was always a fucking long drive and even longer now that we seem to be forced to walk amongst dragons and dogs and dirt and ditches.
#6 Tompkins Drive is a sad affair; heck, it's not even called that anymore. They've changed the numbers and road signs since "back in the day." I once took a picture of it, years after moving out; I forced myself to make the drive over the long road home, to confront the dirt and the ditches, to figure out what was actually memory and what was dream and what was was. It was pathetic then, and, thanks to Google Earth, I can see that it's pathetic now.
The house seemed so much larger when I was so much smaller. I'd like to kick it in the shin now. I'd like to say, "Take that, stupid house! And that! Not so big now, are we?" The house's demons have also moved out. It's not really the house's fault, but I'd kick it nonetheless.