As we walked up the stairs the sensation of dead insects crunched underfoot. The odor of pif paf, ( bug spray) rancid heat and crumbling tile permeated my senses and would remain as a permanent trigger for years to come.
Foof wiggled out of my arms and walked up the last few stairs, gingerly stepping around remnants of cockroaches that lay by the hundreds in the car port area.
After 25 hours the journey wore on my sagging belly. My body ached and contractions pounded in waves from abdomen to lower back. The unrelenting heat soaked my scarf and undergarments as drops of sweat made a constant pattern down my nose and lips. My mother had warned me about taking such a grueling trip while 8 months pregnant. I had already delivered 4 babies successfully and needed to make this trip. A job was waiting and it was my duty as wife and mother to follow.
For the previous 7 years we had lived in a modest home just an hour South of Seattle. Odds and ends of used furniture left behind by friends who returned to their home countries served as a reminder that we were merely temporary. A tan couch sectional with bits of knobby fibers, 1 queen bed and some pads for the floor were our furnishings until we found a permanent home.
As we made our way to the top of the stairs a large brown door stood before us. It was clear it had been painted a dull brown in a hurry, most likely hours before we arrived. The two doors met in the middle and overlapped. There were cracks and holes in between the sections. This would later prove to be an entrance for lizards and cockroaches.
The doors opened and inside exposed a hall, indoor outdoor black carpet, walls that were a tan color with specks of white and brown. Lines traced a previous life, t.v., cupboards and a bookshelf, an ominous sign of years to come.
The living room was empty with the exception of one brown, plastic window placed strategically near a large piece of plywood that was haphazardly nailed over a gaping hole.
There were two bedrooms, each room was well duplicated and interchangeable with the next, black indoor outdoor carpeting, and a hole covered by plywood. I looked around the room, exhausted from the 25 hours of flights and layovers. Any where would be fine, a bed, a mat, a pillow a blanket. But none of those were present in any room, a house full of nothing.
The last room was larger than the rest but stood apart as pink cracked tiling replaced rough black carpeting. A lone sink held up by a single counter implied that this was the kitchen.