The Return

by The Cowl Editor on November 30, 2017


house on a riverbed in autumn
Photo courtesy of

by Marisa DelFarno ’18


The land is vacant like the beach’s shore at dawn. The tires of my car tilt towards the cobblestone driveway, and convulse over the uneven jagged surface. Acorns, twigs, and wayward leaves layer the glittery cobblestone. As I zigzag my way up the driveway, a Japanese red maple tree appears, standing prominently in the center of the yard. It is twice the size from when I last saw it. The crimson star-shaped leaves are still there, well until the cold December wind blows. The fuchsia shrubs are there too, still closely hugging the side of the house. Overgrown and no longer invaded by fuzzy bumblebees. The fuchsia leaves are starting to mature to a dull brown—the harbinger of a season’s end. The untrimmed grass neighboring the house is disguised by a blanket of orange and brown debris. Chipped, weather-faded paint coats the house, and the roof is missing a few shingles here and there like holes in an old, worn-out sweater. I do not bother to peek through the cobweb-framed window. I know that the inside only holds emptiness and echoes of the past.

Now, in the pale autumn afternoon light, a place where I spent the early years of my life has suddenly become unrecognizable. Like I am visiting a stranger’s house for the first time. Like this house was never mine. But I have come to know one thing. A house is only a shell.