Tonight I float.
Blame it on the cups of coffee amply laced with cherry brandy (which later I poured a good measure of unto my cup when we’ve exhausted the coffee) I had over at my granpa’s house where I went for dinner.
The affair was pleasant enough. But there was something sad about the whole thing.
Ma was there, a grand-aunt, my uncle (presently lord of the manor, hehehe), a lodger at one of the rooms we had rented out, and myself.
There was the gay tinkling of silver upon china.
There was the soft gurgling of liquid being poured unto expectant glasses.
Yet the laughter shared was hollow. As if it was not really appropriate. Or welcome.
I felt the house was lonely. There were too many dark hallways now where light and laughter had permeated in my childhood years.
Most of the rooms are now rented out to strangers who are oblivious to the history of the family which occupied it years and years ago.
There are framed photographs on the walls of dead and once-young ancestors staring down at anyone passing through from the living room to the dining area. Within each shelf lining the living room walls are the memorabilia of the past I had shared with the family. Yellowed greeting cards with my brother’s and my childish inscriptions — addressed to the grans, once-lost toys, more framed photographs of young aunts and uncles and parents and grandparents, my brother, myself. Ashes of cremated ancestors.
The display case of my grandparents’ wedding china and silverware has gathered sad shadows and inches of dust, forlorn in its role as the sole witness to numerous hours when the dining room spends its day in unpopulated silence. The silence of a crypt.
For most of the grandparents are gone to the lights. Those who are living have gone to America and chose to seek their missing selves there.
The house was left in the care of uncaring people who, as time passed, began to take up the thinking of Denethor, that steward of Gondor’s throne who refused to relinquish his comfortable position in the great halls of Minas Tirith (I’m smiling wryly as I write this far-fetched juxtaposition) to some raider. For some reasons I have yet to uncover, these stewards have taken it upon themselves how to manage the affairs of the “ancestral” household that even my uncle who lives there feels like a stranger. A guest. A bedspacer.
The family members, such as my mother and myself and all my other immediate family, have gone to far-flung places to seek things we have yet to find… the fault rests on us by taking it for granted that a house will be there for us to stay in whenever we happen to be in the city. The end result is we have to call beforehand if we are coming over. Indeed, we have become guests in our own house.
I don’t have a point to make… this is just the sadness I feel as I float with the spirit of the cherry brandy. The bottle may have been haunted. And the old ghosts of that old house may have dined with us tonight.