La Sala de Mi Niñez

Natalie Navarro

I didn’t know I loved the way the sun

shined — so warm and bright

through those windows the most,

softened by the white lace curtains

that would dance with the breeze.

I knew I loved dancing, pounding

chubby little feet against the smooth

hard wood floor that was so clean

I could see myself in its reflection,

just the same as the ancient black box tv

that had encompassed the wall.

I’d forgotten how much I wore

out the same two CDs in that

old CD player.

I didn’t know I loved the mess

of brightly colored toys,

scattered across the hardwood

floors, ruining their pristine

for a moment,

the pristine that carried onto

the white walls, but again

was disrupted by the art

and photographs that were

put up with love.

I didn’t know I would also love

the other cracks in the pristine.

All the half-finished projects —

the blankets, hats, and scarves,

stuck to the sharp knitting needles

haphazardly tucked away into a basket,

the brown plush reclining chair,

that reclined too far back then and

still does now. Even now I love it

still, alongside the brown wooden

and leather, rocking chair from

Costa Rica, engraved with images of

wagons, flowers, and birds, with a

foot stool engraved with toucans to match.

I’d forgotten I loved those pillows

made from the mismatch patches of

fabric that adorned every chair and couch,

but also served as steppingstones for

the hardwood floor that would become

hot, molten lava. Their companions

were handmade dolls meant for

decoration, but in my hands became

companions for playing.

I didn’t know I loved how many

VHS tapes there were in that wooden

cabinet that housed the CD player.

I once loved going through every single

one, the tornado that was me finding

the kid’s movies and the treasured

home movies that we’d watch on

the grainy black box TV.

I didn’t know I loved the sound of

Spanish cumbias softly breaking through

my overplayed Hannah Montana or Backyardigans

CDs from the kitchen, the smell of something

warm and yummy always coming in with it.

I didn’t know I loved the smells of that

place — the Royal Violets and Daisy perfume,

the floor cleaner that always needed to be

replaced, the talcum powder that always

came after a bath — now I love any

reminder of them.

I know that place is still there,

but I’ll love the version

that’s lost to time the most.

I know I will love the memories,

but I don’t know how to love

what’s left anymore.