WALLS THAT WILL MELLOW WITH THE YEARS
Built on a compact square plan, this is a dignified, substantial home in which the family may take pleasure for years to come…
She loved the dark. At night, walking through the winding streets of her neighborhood, the blackness was like a drop cloth covering the landscape, hiding what she did not want to see, leaving her free to use her imagination.
On this night, the final night, the vision of the old house was as illuminated in her mind as if it had been broad daylight. She could picture the house even before it came into view at the bottom of the hill. Yet once again, the actual sight of it, revealed in the light of a crescent moon, caused the unfailing catch in her chest.
Posted signs in the yard-ugly crooked placards-shouted at her. KEEP OUT. NO TRESSPASSING. She kicked them over. The house was scheduled to be torn down tomorrow. The same house she had loved for all of her 14 years. She’d always believed she would live here some day. At least in her youthful imagination. But they wanted the land. The land, they said, was more valuable without the house. She could not comprehend such a heartless claim.
Around back, hidden behind a large unruly rhododendron, she found a gaping hole where a window had once been-allowing her effortless entry. As her eyes adjusted to the darkness-deeper inside the house than outside-she could tell that others had recently been in her hallowed space. Doors were removed from their hinges and stacked against the walls. Light fixtures with ornate milky white glass shades lay in ghostly rows, along with various switch plate covers and an old pedestal sink. It was clear to her. Before the death blow of the bulldozer came, the bones of the house were being picked clean. Anger singed her face. She made her way over to the fireplace, and rested her forehead on the cool painted wood of the mantle. I’m sorry, house, she cried. I wish there was something I could do to save you, but there isn’t. She stroked the mantle with a comforting hand.
Spying a hammer that lay among several other tools on the floor-left behind, no doubt, by someone who cared more about salvaging the contents of the house than the house itself-she knew what she had to do.
As the full weight of her sorrow propelled the hammer forward, she smashed an etched glass mirror.
The following night, for the first time in more than 90 years, the ground beneath the house was exposed-revealed in the light of a crescent moon.