Indie Ink Writing Challenge: Things We Lost in the Move.

17 Aug

This is my first week participating in Indie Ink’s Writing Challenge.


This week, I challenged Major Bedhead ( with this propmt:

“There’s a bluebird in my heart that wants to get out / but I’m too tough for him / I say, stay in there, I’m not going to let anybody see you.” (Charles Bukowski).

And I was challenged  by melissa b ( with the prompt:

“Write about your return visit to your childhood home”.

For more information about Indie Ink, check out their website:

Here’s my response:


When Amelia came back to the house fifteen years later, nothing about it looked the same.

“You won’t like it”, her mother had warned. “It’s changed; you won’t find what you’re looking for.”

Amelia had been wild and young, once.
Amelia had covered her bed frame in yellow, blue, and white painted flowers, once.
Amelia had been brave enough to climb out her window and onto the roof just to look at the stars, once.

Now that she was older, she was A Sensible Adult.
Instead of covering her bed with painted flowers, she now covered her desk with lists.
Instead of climbing out windows, she now made lists like: “What I Need to Buy So I Can Climb Out the Window Safely In Case of Fire” and “Seven Steps to Happiness”.

She missed her wild-self, and hated the hesitation that came with her making-lists-self.

And so, on her 33rd birthday, she decided it was time to revisit the house she and her mother had lived in for five years, after her mother got sick.
The house, to her, represented change.

Her memories in the house begin with a list.

When she and her mother had first moved into the house, Amelia’s mother taped a list of everything the movers lost to the front of their shiny refrigerator out of frustration.
Amelia remembers it clearly.

It was written on a torn sheet of wide-ruled notebook paper, in scrawling blue ink.
The list looked like this:

Things We Lost in the Move:
1. Amelia’s horse lamp.
2. Blue extension cord.
3. small green vase that once belonged to Grandmom Gini.
4. whole, FUCKING entire box of dinner and desert plates engraved with small dandelions
5. Amelia’s pink fuzzy sweater
6. Franny’s favorite walking collar.

Her mother had tried to cross out the word “FUCKING”, but Amelia still saw it.

It had been a particularly distressing move; Amelia’s mother kept the list taped to the refrigerator for a full year.

Throughout her adult life, Amelia often thought back on that list. It came to represent, in her mind, the think line between her childhood before the move and her life afterwards.


Driving towards the house, Amelia hoped she would find her lost wild-self hiding, waiting to be found.

But when she pulled up in front of the house, her hopes fell.

The new owners had painted the outside walls a light blue, and had filled the once-barren flower bed by the side door with yellow daisies.
The front stoop boasted a fresh coat of white paint, and a flower wreath hung, perfectly centered, on the front door.

She had come here to find something she had lost, but instead she just felt anger.              The house was changed; nothing from her childhood remained.
There was no going back.
And she realized, with biting frustration, that her mother was right — she would not find what she was looking for.
Her wild self was lost.
She was an Adult, now — her ideas were tethered firmly to the ground, now.

But she wanted to be — or at least wanted to feel —  wild, again, and so, in a fit of rebellion, she ran up to the bed of daisies, and began pulling them up in handfuls.
She yanked them up hurriedly, indignantly, savagely.
She pulled them up because she wanted to leave a mark.
She pulled them up because she felt forgotten, invisible, severed.
She pulled them up because her house — her history — had moved on, and even become more beautiful, without her.

After all the daisies had been uprooted, Amelia sat and surveyed her work.
The newly emptied bed looked reassuringly familiar, and Amelia was oddly satisfied.
She felt no remorse.

With sudden inspiration, she sprang up, and ran back to her small green station wagon.
She pulled open the groaning passenger side door, and rummaged through her well worn purse.
She found a crumpled piece of notebook paper, and began making a list.

Amelia’s boundless childhood was gone.
All that remained was what could be categorized, written.

She ran back to the empty bed, and buried her list deep in the soil.
She picked up one of the uprooted daisies, carried it back to her car, and slowly drove away.

The list was titled:”Things We Lost in the Move”.
And underneath, in careful, cursive letters, it read: “ourselves.”

2 Responses to “Indie Ink Writing Challenge: Things We Lost in the Move.”

  1. supermaren August 18, 2011 at 2:04 am #

    Welcome to the challenge! This was a wonderful, bittersweet story…I love how you used the lists as a part of your writing as well as your storytelling. Great job.

  2. melissa August 18, 2011 at 8:50 pm #

    THIS??? AMAZING!! loved what you did with the prompt!

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