That House

Do you remember that house,

the one with all the floors sliding east (the famous-to-me direction of your auspicious birth)?
It was almost one hundred years old,
and I think someone called it grandfathered, as though it could turn over new leaves.
It had a breakfast nook we never used
because the kitchen was built in the time of cold cupboards and wood-burning stoves, and the refrigerator broke out pregnantly from the wall if we didn't back it into the nook.
There was this cheap linoleum in the bathroom
that I refused to get rid of even though it peeled up in broad strokes around the radiator, because it was six-by-six-inch black and white checkers, and I had thought about that kind of floor since I was a little kid because I liked the symmetry the squares imposed.
The cracks in the walls
were going to be incorporated into pictures instead of re-plastered over, because it seemed to me that it was the plaster that had the problem, and painting meant that new cracks could mean new branches and not the brokenness of new cracks.
We decided we couldn't stay if we had a family,
so we moved to make room, and then that baby never came.
When we packed everything up
and wiped the last of our fingerprints off the doorframe, I could still see in my mind the things I would do there if we stayed, but that baby was not in my mind any more than a distant relative that we never met whose Christmas letter had been foisted upon us by my mother.
So, I wasn't very sad about that baby,
but I always missed that house, and I wonder if that baby had come if I would sometimes still have wished that we'd kept that house instead.

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