by Shelby Ree
804 South Muskogee Street
by Shelby Ree
When I was in middle school, I used to search “804 South Muskogee Street, Sapulpa, Oklahoma 74066” on Google Earth to see if it was still there—if my yellow house was still standing, and the yard was as big on satellite as it was in my memory. If the two tall oak trees still stood on either side of the front driveway.
Alcohol can alter cells that slow the ability to fight infections, depression, and temptation. Although moderate consumption can strengthen the immune system response, my yellow house never hosted moderate drinking.
The back porch was made from dark wood. I remember it was just under the steps of the bottom stairs where Abby had her first litter of puppies. My sisters and I used to play village. I always got the wobbly swing set with a pale blue slide, the eldest got the porch, and the youngest got the pink, two-story playhouse. Mud rolled in leaves were gourmet wraps, the cold pile of sticks was the hearth of the home, and the mini valley of weeds and crabgrass was miles of vegetation ready for harvest.
I wouldn’t be able to stand straight if I was in that pink playhouse, but I can recall how our imaginations triumphed over reality, how we used to play house and act out the home lives my sisters and I would see on television. We preferred the world on TV rather than the cracking marriage above us that seemed as if it could snap any late night into early mornings.
After we left dad, that swing set collapsed, Abby ran away, the playhouse was sold to the neighbors, and the back porch rotted with mold and termites. Wood can especially be vulnerable to mold because it has organisms that mold spores find delicious. This mildew can be dangerous. It can release toxins in the air that can weaken the immune system.
The immune system is a structure of defense that fights against sickness in the body. Function failure of the immune system caused by long term alcohol abuse can lower white blood cell count and nutritional deficiency. Guilt is commonly known as a crippling emotion, and from observation, it can be concluded that this feeling can be caused by immune system function failure that originated from alcohol abuse. Guilt can keep a person hostage in their own minds in prolonged cycles of regret that can, in your case, last years. It can interrupt goals, passions, and can tear away relationships built on years of work and trust.
You can’t blame it on the alcohol, or your in-between bitches who broke all our hearts. It was your own decision and dissatisfaction with our lives that led you to them. Your own selfish ambitions you held close in place of your own family.
But it’s over now.
You have mildew on you. Letting the guilt consume you is making your spirit rot. It is immobilizing you, keeping your hands full of new workout routines never explored, vodka, dating apps, and constant small talk to avoid the real problems.
If I were to visit 804 South Muskogee Street, I’m afraid that I won’t be able to recognize my home. My back porch, that patch of grass where the swing set used to stand, or the valley of weeds that supplied my sisters and me with enough pretend food to last us through the afternoon.