Some plaster had come down in the attic of my childhood home. That’s why I was cleaning that up. It was a good time to immediately clean up the entire attic. I wrote this the night after I finished it.

For a moment I closed my eyes and could hear the sound of children playing in the distance. I imagined them playing in the hallway. In my mind, they were so close. They weren’t.

In my mind, this attic I was in seemed much bigger. Just like it always was when I was young. It was still the same attic as before. My children used to play here. On a table, there was a Lego castle waiting to be finished. Nowadays there are other priorities. Making TikToks in their grandmother’s backyard for instance. Or telling her stories about what happened at school. Finishing this castle isn’t so much a priority anymore.

This attic is so familiar to me. I used to sleep here. As the years progressed the room grew emptier and emptier. Eventually, the room became empty except for a few pieces of furniture. They would come in handy someday. Whenever.

In silence, I stared out the window, as I did so many times before. Staring at whatever, without actually seeing something. I saw the past. I saw what happened in the backyard. Everything was possible in our backyard. Everything was allowed. A backyard where we built huts. Much to my mother’s chagrin. Later I learned that it was played. She did it for form. Because others would then ask if all that was possible.

I collected the play mat that was on the floor. A pretty neat play mat with streets and sidewalks on it. I promised to bring it to the thrift store. Which child would be so happy? She bought it for my children. They played with it for hours. Not just in the attic.Everywhere. Even in the backyard. There is a good reason that the play mat didn’t get dirty. That’s because it belonged to their grandmother. My children considered it to be a loaner. They were small but considered it an honour to play with that play mat.

There was fighting over the wooden trains. One was even more beautiful than the other. Rails were laid down on the floor and their grandmother just stepped over the rails. These rails could just lay there as long as they want them to lay there.

I ran my fingers over the toys. Again. Then I picked up the vacuum cleaner. I did the carpet once more. No matter how hard I tried. Certain things didn’t go away. Memories stayed and remained.

In the distance, I heard children’s voices. They had so much fun.

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