The Playhouse

The Best Day by Taylor Swift

“Grab the keys!” my sister and I shrieked as we ran into my grandparents’ house, blazing past everyone with our eyes on the prize: the keys to the playhouse that my grandpa built for us. The exterior of the playhouse glows with white stucco walls and pink shutters, identical to my grandparents’ house. Walking in now I have to duck my head to avoid the “thwack” of my head meeting the top of the doorway, a constant reminder of the fact that things certainly have changed. After my left foot plants onto the hard floor, upholstered with carpet covered in picture of elephants holding pastel balloons, just girly enough to pass my sister’s (Aubry), cousin’s (Kaitlyn), and my standards, I am instantly swept with emotion. I close the wooden door with the golden knob tightly. To my left is the wooden kitchen with a refrigerator and counter. The refrigerator is divided into two sections, the top is the freezer. Even now when I open that door I find the plastic play-food ice cream that always looked good enough to eat on a hot summer day. Connected to the fridge to the left, is the counter top with black and white burners painted on top of it. The window above the counter, one of four, faces the grassy area that once held a swing set.
When I was about nine and all six of the grandchildren were visiting, there was a huge hail stormthat almost turned into a tornado! The hail was as big as golf balls and pelted holes into our plastic swing set and holes into our hearts. But, the discovery that was made after the storm that broke my heart the most was seeing my precious playhouse’s windows cracked and broken by the storm.
Two of the windows are located in the front of the house. We thought that these were used for the three of us to spy on my grandparents’ house and the boys (my brother and two cousins). However, my parents were always looking through those exact same windows checking on the three of us. The window on the left looks out upon what used to be a lush one-hole golf course that my grandpa built the year my older brother was born and kept up with so that when the whole family visited, we could have an activity that we all enjoyed doing together. I remember using my mom’s golf clubs and, if I was lucky, my Umma’s clubs. We would spend hours out there hitting the ball and sometimes just attempting to hit it.
Above the countertop is a higher cupboard that is filled with our most prized kitchen item, the plastic silver tea set. I will swear to this day that not even the Queen of England gets to drink her tea out of a tea set that is more elegant or special. The cabinet is adorned on the top with a thatch wood box of fake yellow flowers. On the opposite side of the room, is the washer, dryer and utility sink. They are all made of metal with purple and pink designs on them. I think that my sister and cousin would agree that the most disgusting part of having the playhouse outside was bugs crawling into the washing machine. Their dead bodies would crackle as we rotated the washer spinner around. When we were in the playhouse, we could see my grandparent’s whole yard, but nothing compared to the memories within those four stucco walls.
On the wall by the refrigerator, there is a hook with my Umma’s old dresses on it, a cluster of mismatched shoes lie beneath them. My mind races back to the hours upon hours that we spent in that playhouse, dressing up in those dresses of the most awful colors; bright orange, pastel pink, black and orange stripes, and the ones filled with memories of outings held in by stains of grass, coffee or spaghetti sauce. These were the kind of dresses that had five inches dragging on the floor, but were raised at the hem by tiny little hands, revealing the shoes that were six sizes too big. The instant that we dressed ourselves in Umma’s old dresses, we became the women of the house, cooking, cleaning and making sure that my brother and two cousins could not make it through the threshold of our imagination. Being a young girl, this was my fantasy world: the green washing machine whirred as the dresses swished around while being washed, the tea kettle whistled, signaling it was time to adjourn to the table, which was made from the same white and color speckled slab as my grandparent’s old kitchen table. I pulled myself up to the table, in the middle of the room, in the pink plastic chair adorned with a sticker of a girl and boy skipping, my sister pulled up the folding black chair decorated by a rainbow fish on the back, as my cousin brought the plastic tea set to the table and poured us all imaginary steaming hot tea.
We would sit around the table, starting when we were younger, talking about how to keep the boys out of our house and who was going to be the one to ask Umma if she would bring our lunch out. As we all got older, our conversations switched gears so much that we had begun planning to add a second level to the house and actual plumbing.
The sweet smell of ronies (my Umma’s spaghetti) just off the stove wafting through the playhouse’s open windows, was the signal to come inside. This was always a bittersweet moment in the day as play was over for now, but tomorrow was only heartbeats away. We ran through the mosquito-infested grass into their house, turning back and looking at the playhouse with the most pride anyone ever could have.