How we form and what we do with our assumptions has been on my mind lately. This story illustrates one of the most interesting (and wrong!) assumptions I’ve ever made.

Soon after I moved up here six years ago Drew’s parents invited us over for dinner at the house they had lived in for nearly 25 years. Their kids had grown up there and it was the only home Drew’s youngest sister has ever know. Before we ate Drew took me on a tour of the place.

The Name on the Wall

The most interesting part of Drew’s tour was the room that had once been his bedroom. I couldn’t help but to notice that there was a name  on one of the walls there that didn’t seem to belong to anyone in the house:


No one mentioned it and our tour continued. I wondered if there had once been a fifth sibling in his family. As a child and young adult I’d known too many families who had lost a child and every one responded to it differently. Some talked about their deceased family member(s) openly and with anyone who would listen, others I knew for years before hearing a word about that part of their history.

Later, in the privacy of our own home, I asked Drew about Jeremy. It was ok if he didn’t want to talk about it but I thought it was better to know about a potentially painful topic than guess whether something bad had happened or if it was something the family was comfortable discussing with an outsider.

Drew laughed and told me that the room had been decorated like that when they first moved in. It had nothing to do with their family.

I couldn’t decide whether to be relieved that Drew hadn’t lost a sibling after all or amused that over the past two and a half decades no one had decided to take those wall decals down.

Lessons learned:

  • Not everything in life has a complicated explanation.
  • Sometimes the truth is more mundane than fiction.
  • Redecorating isn’t as common as I had originally assumed.

What assumptions have you made recently?

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0 Responses to Jeremy

  1. Haha, I have a similar story! Back home I met a woman who had a cluster of small round scars on her arms. My first thought was an angry stepdad who burned her with cigarettes as a child or some equally horrendous situation. Finally I got up the nerve to ask someone who knew her better than I did what they were from and was surprised to be told not some heart-wrenching tale of horrors past but that she worked in food service and had grease from a fryer splash her. Apparently my brain is more extravagant and darker than reality.

    • Wow, I’m so glad that they weren’t from childhood abuse. That was the first thing to pop into my mind as well as I read your story.

      I didn’t realize working around deep fryers was so dangerous! 🙂

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