Journal

The Key House

By Joy Lynn Clark

January 27, 2022

Now this is as bad as the locker but, there is some hope eventually. When I was in high school I kept a very messy room. Nothing but papers and clothing Strewn about everywhere.

Some days I wore multiple outfits because of my sports. I will wear my regular clothes to school, then gym uniform, next practice outfit, then change at home into loungewear, and eventually sleepwear. By the end of the week my room with a clothing nightmare. In addition, I wrote a lot. I had term papers that were always do, my diary, and my rats. I even had a secret challenge for my wraps – how many can I right? So I started numbering them.

I barely made it out of the house for school in the morning. When we lived in the old neighborhood my school was far from home so he took the bus.

One morning I barely make it out of the house. I asked my stepbrother, “can I leave out with you because I can’t find my keys.” I knew that they were somewhere in my messy room but I will be late if I keep looking. My stepbrother quit surfing his back – then dial-up, promenade and says, “let’s go”. This was before windows even.

So we head off to school, no problem. I don’t miss the bus. I pretty much ride this thing out the whole week because I was just too busy to clean my room.

By the weekend, no excuses. We must have our rooms clean before we can go out and do anything else. Every Saturday is a rush to do chores. I’m usually lucky if I finish by Saturday night. Next, I finish and then we go to the roller rink, or the teen dance club. I usually find those keys too.

I usually make my mess, lose my keys and then find them by the end of the week. Then my dad gets sick. He was hospitalized and then home for a long recovery.

I start my key shuffle for the week but this time, my stepbrother has already left. I am so scared to go and bother my dad about a ride to school. He can’t even give me a ride. So I walk and I am so late at the school calls home. My dad and stepmom are both pissed. “I miss placed my keys and I miss the bus, and I didn’t want to bother dad.” “Don’t be late like that anymore, you are grounded and clean your room. Your dad is recovering from his surgery and you better not bother him.”

I start my little key shuffle again. In my defense, I am not the only one who likes clothes. If I get up early enough, I can go shopping with my stepmom. She gives us a little money to buy something that we want and she also will get us some clothing that we need. Yep, more clothes.

I really want to break my habit of being so messy but my closet is too small. So I lose my keys again. I called myself laying my keys on the dining room table so they will always be there – messy room or not.

Hi head out for school. Late as usual but, I can make it if I walk to the bus stop really fast. I stopped by the dining room table and my keys are gone. Oh no! My folks are gonna kill me. I walked back into my room and start shaking out all of my clothes that are laying around. No keys, crap. There’s nothing I can do, I must tell dad.

I creep into the den where dad is propped up. “OK well call a taxi.” He says. Whew That went better than I thought. Then I hit the garage door opener and run out before I can close on me.

The taxi driver was pretty nice and knows my dad. This whole taxi ride goes on for a while too. However, my dad eventually recovers and starts driving to work again.

I do my key shuffle again but now I am stashing them in different places around the house. Since we had land lines, I used to pull the kitchen phone into the living room (Where I cannot sit on any of my step mom’s white sofas)And I would lay on the floor and talk on the phone. I also started stash and keys in that spot.

One morning, I’m rushing out of the house to run to the bus stop as usual, I stop in the living room and feel around under the sofa – no keys. Crap. That snaps to, “you need to get your life together, are you leaving your keys at peoples house? I am going to have to change the locks!”. I was so down. I never left my keys at anybody’s house. My dad stay disappointing to me for years over this. I kept losing my keys all throughout my childhood.

In 2020 my stepmother dies from Covid. I drive back to Illinois from Kentucky to see my father and my stepbrother. Dad is brokenhearted and he tells me that I can go on my step mom’s room and get anything that I want. The room is a mess and I noticed that my step brothers family had already gone through some of the stuff. I decided to clean the house first. I dust, vacuum, and wash dishes.

Next, I start going through the things in my stepmother’s rooms. She had a bedroom and a closed room. I didn’t really think that I could wear many of her clothes but I did grab a lot of the jewelry. It’s mostly fashion jewelry but it is stylish.

I also liked her pillows. They were so soft and they didn’t have feathers. I pulled the sheets back and saw the stains in the bed. My stepmother died here. I put on my mask and gloves and thank goodness – I just had to remove the pillow top and the bedding. I washed what I could and took the pillow top out with some help from my son.

I also put my step mom’s numerous medication’s in a cardboard box to be Disposed of. She also had an oxygen tank.

Eventually, I found a box of all of my missing house keys. Not a little one end a shoebox full. And my heart I was overwhelmed with loss and anger. I was so mad at my stepmother for dying and stealing my keys.

I still haven’t gone through all of the jewelry but one day last year I was reminiscing and looking at those pretty necklaces that I used to admire as a child and I thought to myself, “mom (Affectionately) Didn’t steal those keys, she was already at work.” Dad stole them.

About Post Author

Joy Clark is a writer, producer, vocalist, and publisher. Lexington, KY

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