We were looking for a home, you and me. When I met you, you were the only man I could see. We’d been in the throws of heady romance for some time and we were looking for a home.
I wondered what our home would be like it. Would it be old? Would it be new? I contemplated if I had a preference. I did not. If it were old, I’d make it new. If it were knew, I’d make it ours.
The world was quiet and beautiful. Still. Not a soul in sight. I didn’t miss the people. I didn’t need people, well only one. It had started to rain. We had nowhere to shelter. We were looking for a home.
We crept around the edges of the silent streets quietly like cats, treading softly around paper, sniffing the air and whispering observations with accompanying hand gestures. You saw a house. An old white house with splintered panels, overgrown with dead hedges with broken windows that looked like they had framed hundreds of faces in their time. Inquisitively looking at the world. How little they knew of how it would change. How I long for their ignorance. All locked up, you gently felt around for a route in and eventually lifted some rotten wood to reveal our secret entrance.
We crawled through and tiptoed into an entrance hall, all white, peeling paint and wooden floors. Light coloured squares sat at awkward angles where pictures had once hung. Some pictures still held their space, obviously not important enough to take when the moment came. Landscapes and a portrait of a beautiful woman with cold eyes that held yours for a moment as you passed. I wondered where her heart had gone. A vase of rotting flowers that had once blossomed and filled the space with the soft fragrance of the living sat on a shelf that mysteriously still hung without brackets, dead heads still hung from shrivelled stems. A rug of curly brown leaves surrounded the base. This was what you’d said you wanted. It was dirty and unloved but we had love to spare. I was overflowing with it. We could make it new again. Had we found our home?
We padded softly into the kitchen. Cupboards still hung, some had fallen. Some hung by a screw, the contents piled up in the lowest corner. Plates and cups sat still and lifeless on a round, wooden table. A fork once dropped on the floor, floated in a sea of dirt. Dust and dead leaves covered everywhere. It was like Pompeii, like a morgue. Someone had left it in a hurry long ago as time had stopped at the point of something terrible. The feeling hung in the air, petrifying all who inhaled it, turning them to stony monoliths of ancient fears and sadnesses.
Into the next room, a long room full of windows that looked out over the large lake. It was impossible to see the other side, even on a clear day. The water lapped sluggishly at the mud like the sullen slap of an old tongue against dry, chapped lips. This room also had the wooden floors and white walls, only this time the word ‘Reverie’ was written on the wall in large, light blue, italic letters, pastel coloured ribbons hung in rows, painted as a backdrop. The design made me think of children. Had children once lived here? Could they? I felt the vivacious pull of lust and maternity deep inside my eager belly.
I wanted to take to cleaning and making new. I started picking up crockery and making a pile by the sink. My heart sprung at the potential of what we could have, everything we could create for each therr. As quick as that however, it sunk to the bottom of the deep, dark sea as I stole a glance your way and saw you sat still. You were staring solemnly at the fingerprints on cups and broken photo frames, remembering what had been and almost certainly what wasn’t any more. Feet hung in the lake, the cold ripples tickling the hairs on your ankle, heartache was nipping at your toes and they twitched in defiance. This was the seventh place we’d found and once again your past was enough to defy us settling. Our future was still waiting in the wings to humbly shuffle onto your stage all singing and dancing, if only you could let it. I defied my sadness and looked at you with quiet eyes that said ‘we can take more time’. It was the only choice I had the only way to survive and the only way to keep your ever wavering love.
We slid out the narrow gap in the wood, back onto the road. Jumpers pulled over our heads to protect from the rain. You kissed my cheek with the softness of appreciating my patience. We continued our search and I couldn’t help but wonder if we’d ever find our home.