Today I found a fragment of the wallpaper that hung in our living room when we first moved into our house nine years ago.
The day we closed on our house our friends came over with a bottle of champagne and a gift card to the hardware store. We drank and laughed and toasted, "to our new home!" as we all peeled at corners of the wallpaper that I said had to go. The paper in the living room, to our surprise, came off in long, thin, easy-to-peel pieces. Soon everyone had a glass of bubbly in one hand and a strip of wallpaper in the other. Our two-year old toddlers raced around ripping paper and weaving between our legs, and I felt so happy to be here in this place with those I loved so dearly. I felt so secure in that love, those friendships.
To my surprise I found a working phone in the dark, dirty basement. I snuck down and dialed my mother in California.
"Oh honey, your first home! Daddy would be so proud!"
I cried with her, a little drunk now, and wished my father was there, so I could have told him about how I had saved and scrimped in order to buy this house. I'd have told him how we ate lots of cheap macaroni and cheese and didn't buy new clothes for months and only had one car. He would have applauded my thriftiness and, like my mom said, would have been so proud.
I look at the wallpaper shred now, and it makes me sad and nostalgic. Why didn't I take pictures that day? Why aren't there snapshots of us with our friends, arms around each other in goofy poses? Where are the pictures of us all standing in the empty kitchen or waving on the front porch? Why didn't we have a camera to take shots of the kids being crazy and enjoying themselves in the wide open rooms that smelled of cleanser and dust and other families?
I don't have those photos, but I do have this wallpaper scrap. It's something.