I Used To Be Seventeen

This is an unfinished draft. Another story I started for writober, but actually really like so I want to give it more time to fully flesh out.

”Floating above the streets of my childhood. That community garden I had went to as a kid when my parents were still together. I often found respite in its grassy knolls and swing set. A little place of peace in the concrete jungle. I had my first kiss there.

There is that familiar burger spot, before it was converted into a melt shop franchise. Their burgers were trash, but they let a bunch of teenagers loiter for an hour or more, and their tater tots weren’t half bad.

I often think about the house that stood adjacent to the graveyard. It was always run-down and had weeds growing, and I never saw a single soul leave it. It would be fascinating to check it out.”

She whisked down before lightly touching the floor. “Just like I expected. Cobwebs everywhere. Dark, moribund. Curtains drawn on a beautiful, domed, tall window that stretched from an impressively high ceiling to about my waist. Not really scary in the daytime.”

She rounded the corner of the anteroom to come into a living room with old furniture covered in dust. Small wipes of the dining table (! Wipes?) and around photograph frames were the only evidence the house wasn’t actually abandoned.

And of course old Ms. Hadley sitting motionless on the shiny dappled-white and gold armchair. Her face when in the solitude of her own home betrayed a defeated expression adorned with confused eyes and a miserable frown, all wrinkles. Wearing a flowery dress waiting for the Meals on Wheels attendant to come by.

"Oh my god!" She was startled. She leaned down so she was at eye level. Ms. Hadley sat there staring off into nowhere, it crossed Sharon's mind whether it would have made a difference if she could see her or not. A siren blared in the background, accompanying the announcement: "MEMORY SYNC ERROR. MEMORY SYNC ERROR."

"How horrible, I can't- I never thought that she lived like this. I would have helped her, had I known, had she ever left her home... But I guess that's the point. How long has she been like this."

Sharon scanned the room. A candelabra sat at the center of the dresser gathering dust. To it's left stood a photo frame of a young man, perhaps his early twenties. Placed against the wall was a dark mahogany dining table surrounded by four chairs of the same material.

The nearby bedroom with the open door was hers, Sharon guessed. A queen-sized bed was cemented in the center of the room, a grand peroba dark (should be expensive, traditional-style) wood bedframe with swirling gold detailing on the headboard, and intricate carvings around the curvy edges. The bedding was neatly made atop it, with a modest dark blue lace chiffon jacket dress spread across it. Despite the unswept appearance of the whole house, it was not messy. There was little in the way of clutter on the floors or tabletops, the drawers were closed shut, it was as if the room had been furnished for an open house showing, and then abandoned for thirty years. Filling the room was a dresser to the left of the queens sized bed, a little table on the other side, an armoire with a large immovable mirror that would probably remain in the house long after Ms. Hadley passed. The furniture in the bedroom, the living room, even the small dressers on both sides of the anteroom felt like part of a set.

Sharon made her way back through the living room, where Ms. Hadley sat motionless, to a hallway on the otherside of the house. The first door to her left was an even more empty, and dusty room that smelled like cotton balls and medicine(! Old people smell). In it lay only a twin bed next to a bed side table. The twin-sized foam mattress was placed atop a plain black metal bedframe with metal springs served as cross rails. The table was made of a black and stained wood, with a plastic sheen applied to it and metal screwheads exposed.

The room further down the hallway was more in line with the decor of the rest of the house, with a major exception(!) being a dresser, made of the same cheap wood as the table in the previous room, toppled forwards, leaning precariously against the doorframe at an angle, the drawers were open and spilling clothes out.

“History.” The room dematerialized as the siren blared again: "MEMORY SYNC ERROR. MEMORY SYNC ERROR." In its place a floating holographic screen hung in the air. Standing in front of it was Sharon, her feet now firmly planted on the ground, adorned in black leather pointed-toe flats. She was around 30-years-old, dressed smart and chic(! can do a description I suppose). In the video screen was the same room from the memory. With some quick gestures on Sharon's part, the video scanned at a rapid pace, until finally with some more mid-air taps, she began the simulation again.