[Reddit Writing Prompt – You dug up your father’s photo album, you discover that the house you are living in is the house in the photos. There is one spot that has a door to another room, you look around your house and found that spot covered with a huge drawer. You explore the room behind the door that was hidden.]
& Expect to find more of my stories there in the future!
I hope you enjoy my story response to the writing prompt.
Every time I visit home, I am always welcomed with an overwhelming sense of nostalgia. I haven’t quite decided if that’s a good or bad thing yet; that would depend on the memories that came along with it. You could say my upbringing was… odd.
Coming home for the first time in two years, I feel that now is my chance to uncover truths about my parents’ mysterious identity. Ever since I was old enough to notice, there would be things that just didn’t add up. When I chose to ask questions about these suspicions of mine, they would get swept under the rug with a vague statement, as if that was enough of an answer for me. “If I’m so curious, then why haven’t I searched for an answer myself?” I wondered. I suppose it might have something to do with the fact that I am subconsciously afraid of what I may find. After all, what if this information changes everything? My brained churned.
There, in my parents’ wooded yard, was my trusty old childhood spot known as the “Thinking Tree.” It hunched way over like a bench, low enough to sit on. I sat straddling the trunk and leaned my back up against it. This is where I would always go for some peace and quiet. My mind wandered off as I thought to myself, “What’s the worst thing my parents could be hiding?” Deep down, I wanted to believe my parents were good people and that they had a valid reason to hide things from me. Yet, I can’t help but wonder, what could be so important that it’s worth covering up for an entire lifetime? It must be something monumental! All I know is, my search for the truth must NOW be a secret from them, and I know just where to start.
My one and only lead is based off of a memory I have from the age of 7 or 8. I was sitting in the same room with my mother when I noticed she took her phone call into the next room; more secrets. Even in my innocent mind, I must’ve thought something was unusual, because I followed her to listen in on the conversation. Clearly, I could tell it was a man’s voice on the phone, potentially my father’s, but I couldn’t make out any specifics. Although I’m not entirely sure what he was saying, I could tell by my mother’s reaction that he was on edge about something. “I know, I know,” she said, “but everyone is relying on us! Jamison must progress, he is our father! We have to make it right this time,” she frantically whispered. Those words burned in my mind, repeating over and over until I had them unintentionally memorized. But what does it mean? It didn’t make sense to me! My grandfather was never mentioned to me before, and I never heard his name mentioned again after the phone call that day. If I didn’t know any better, one might assume I was even named after the guy! Till this day, there was something I never understood: why she referred to him as “our father?” She has no siblings and I was quite sure it was my father speaking to her on the phone. It’s all very peculiar, indeed.
Surely I had misunderstood something; after all, I was only a child. However, deep down I knew what I heard. Sitting here at the Thinking Tree, recalling this old memory, it had never occurred to me before that this was a clue. Not until now, at least.
My childhood home is about one hour away from the nearest town. I enjoyed aspects of this growing up. However, the older I got, the more I realized how inconvenient it was to get anywhere quickly when need be. I considered the distance an inconvenience in almost every situation, except this one. I was going to need all the time I could get.
Shortly after I arrived to visit my parents, they went into town to pick up some groceries for the week. “I need to catch up on some work, go ahead without me,” I insisted, as I shooed them out the door. It was the perfect time to begin my search for old family photo albums, letters, or anything that could be considered a clue! If I could just find a picture of Jamison, maybe it would lead me to find him. I have so many questions I would like to ask, and although no one else has answered them, maybe he would be willing.
My search began in the most obvious spot – the basement. You know, the place where parents seem to hide things while assuming no one would dare look through all their piles. What is all this junk anyway? Potential clues? Or just a distraction from what I truly hope to find?! I could hardly stand the anticipation of the unknown. After looking around for about an hour with no luck, I began to wonder if I had made this whole thing up in my head. Just as I was losing hope, I sat down to rest upon a large stack of boxes. Suddenly, I was caught in an unwelcomed surprise when the sturdy-looking pile collapsed from beneath me. I tumbled awkwardly to the ground. When I came to my senses, I looked over to see which one of the boxes had caved in. All of the boxes were in great shape still, except for one. It was the box at the very bottom, of course: the “callapser.” I pulled the old and tattered-looking box out from under the rubble. Without a doubt, it was the oldest thing I had come across in all of my findings for the day. On top of the box it read the words – “FROM BEFORE.”
As I opened the flaps to look inside, I felt a rush come over me. There it was, a never before seen photo album. I felt as though I hit the jackpot, but yet my stomach was in unbearable knots. To any normal kid, this would mean nothing; to me, it means I’m one step closer to finding Jamison… my alleged grandfather. Looking through all the photos, my mind went into a blur. Each was a new one I had never seen before. So who are these people? Who is this random man… Wait! Is he sitting on my Thinking Tree?? This has got to be him!
Just as my mind was going wild with questions and possibilities, I noticed something: these pictures were all taken here at my parents’ house! I wasn’t certain of it at first, considering all the wall paper and furniture looked different, but it is indeed the same house. Wait a minute, which room was this one taken in? I wondered, as I held a picture up to the light. The layout of the room looked vaguely familiar. After a moment’s time, I came to the conclusion that it must be my fathers’ office! He kept it locked up for the majority of my life, yet I managed to somehow sneak in a time or two growing up. As I studied the picture, I noticed a doorway through the back wall of the office. “How odd, I don’t recall his office having a second entrance”, I muttered quietly in disbelief. Regretting that my memory had faded some, I picked my brain, trying to recall anything else I could. After all, I knew every room in the house and none of them led back into the office. Where did this doorway lead then? Ugh! Why can’t I remember?! I darted from the basement floor and ran up the stairs towards my father’s office. Dang! Is it seriously locked, even now?
Last Summer, I picked up on a trick my friend Tom used when he accidentally got locked out of his apartment. Some may know it as the classic credit card swipe! Could it work in this situation? I wondered. It’s likely I’ve only got one shot at this before my parents get home, so I better make it count. *Swipes the card down through the crack. “I’m in!” I announced, as if I were a character in some kind of mystery movie. I turned the handle – in what felt like slow motion – and flung the door open! Immediately, I peered inside toward the location of the mystery door, according to the picture. In that exact spot from floor-to-ceiling stood a strategically placed chest of drawers. “Could it be….?”
Parents- “Jamison, we’re back!”
Let me know what you think and any constructive criticism would be great, thanks!