We turned left on Canal Street, and there it was. The house I grew up in. The house I swore I wouldn’t step foot in again.
It all started when I was about eleven. My mother had died three years earlier, and my father blamed me. I was running late that day, so mom rode me to school. Mom never made it home. A head on collision with a car in the wrong lane.
The nightly beatings began almost immediately. Then on my eleventh birthday, he said he was going to make a woman out of me. I cried the whole time. Sometimes he’d bring his friends over. They’d get drunk and take turns.
When I was a Freshman I began dating Jim. He was two grades ahead of me. The first time he tried to kiss me, I flinched and turned away. After a moment the tears were flowing. I threw my arms around him, and sobbed on his shoulder. Poor guy, probably thought I was nuts.
Jim listened as I told him every sorted detail. I expected him to run away screaming. He kissed me on the forehead, and told me he’d protect me. I spent more time with Jim, and his folks. I don’t know if Jim told them, but if he did they didn’t let on.
After Jim graduated, he got his own place. I moved in with him on my sixteenth birthday. By then dad was always drunk as a skunk, and it was easy to get away.
I was speechless when I found out he left me the house. Before mom died, it was a great house to grow up in. Seems like there was a pool party every weekend. All us kids would spend hours on the swing set when we weren’t swimming.
The swing set was all rust, and the pool was empty with weeds growing out of it. The furniture we had gotten when I was a child was dusty, and falling apart.
It took three years, but we restored the pool and build a brand new house. Two years later, Jim and I renewed our vows for out tenth anniversary. The twins arrived a week later.
The house on Canal Street became a happy home again.