By Debbie Clardy
Sometimes I yearn for life, like those who used to walk upon me. A rich, full life with joys and heartaches such as those I witnessed each day. I dream to be more than boards held together with paint and nails, for I am not just a porch, but a front porch. I saw and greeted all those who came and went. I still bear the swing that gently swayed from the touch of a lover's foot. Warm, moist breezes from the Gulf weathered my paint and cooled family and friends.
I've absorbed memories into each board, each crevice, and I try now to recall each one as my planks are ripped and broken. My rusty nails fall unheeded beneath the ‘dozer's treads. The once bright and fragrant azaleas lie upon the ground, brown and broken. Each creak, each moan brings an image to mind. I can faintly hear the laughter from wedding guests last June, but I also feel the tears from great gran's passing.
Feet of all shapes and sizes have danced upon my floor. Children have scuffled and lovers cuddled beneath my Hunter fans. Will these memories die here in the dark soil as I'm destroyed? I cannot search, I can only dream another family will walk across my planks one day.
I hear a familiar voice shout above the bull dozer's groan. Young Brandon's come home, but they've all passed on. He walks through the rubble of the house where he was raised, and touches the cold boards where he stole his first kiss. I feel his grief as surely as if I were real, not just planks, paint and nails. Another has joined him and caresses the cypress boards with a hand as soft as a summer breeze. It's Jodie, the girl who got his first kiss. I feel the weight of her and the child she hopes will be a son. They're gathering my boards, clutching them to their chests, and carrying them away from the ‘dozer's destructive course. I feel a blaze of hope surge through each plank. I haven't been forgotten. I'm sure they’ll bring the swing.