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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: November 27, 2017

A A A | A A A

Submitted: November 27, 2017



The windows had just been cleaned, illuminating everything behind the door, making the inside of the house more alive than the outside. The street consisted of one house design, re-used to create a uniform street with twenty identical houses. All made of brick with concrete overflowing inbetween the bricks, sometimes even seeping up into the cracks of the bricks. The inside of the houses had walls made of drywall, and in between the drywall and brick wall, is a layer of insulation, which feels unnecessary during the scorching summer, but appreciated in the harsh winter.


The only differences between the houses were the decorations, and house number nine was covered in plants, with bushes that had white flowers in the spring, and berries in the summer which brought birds to the house. They come in groups, with tight family bonds to eat the berries, their blue and black feather crested heads peeking into the bushes while they sing their liquid notes.


The stairs leading up to the house were made of concrete and desperately needed to be re-done, but instead just got power washed once every two months. Hopeful sprouts grew through the cracks and one penny has been trapped in old gum. On hot summer mornings, the glamourous birds with the collar of black feathers would eat the bitter berries and imitate hawks, becoming the street’s alarm. You could sometimes see steam coming up from a cup of peppermint tea, and the long fingers that wrapped around the mug. The closer you get to her, the more the warm smell of El Dorado rum grew. Chipped blue nail polish would sometimes stick onto the hot white mug. Her only visitor would be a tall man who was a full time barista at some obscure coffee shop. At least, that is who everyone in the neighbour believed him to be.


The outfit he wore most often made it look like he walked straight out of a slam poetry night at your local bar. The black and white shirt worn under his red blazer was moth bitten, most likely bought that way. His corduroy capris exposed an ankle covered in tattoos. The most prominent one was an arrow piercing a mockingbird, his idea of representing his favorite book. His brown derby shoes not only matched his belt but also his messenger bag. His dark curly mop of hair was mostly hidden by a greying beanie.


The old wooden doors were what made the houses unique, across the street, a glass door showed the world a mud room full of neatly placed shoes. The pair always caught the eye were a pair of blue leather platform boots, with patches in the shape of a star. At the points, the stars had begun to peel off, exposing the bottom of the yellow thread outline and the underside of the middle of the star, what was once white had become a yellowy brown, much like ochre. Along with these boots, showing a split personality were a pair of sandals with braided straps the color of a ripe grapefruit.


The woman who lived in the house wasn’t seen much, but when she came out, everybody noticed. Light would shine off of her chestnut brown hair, accentuating her wide smile and and pointed nose. Her face was rarely out, normally trapped in a book, always brown from age. Her button up sundress was always just as yellow as the time before and her hat just as floppy. Despite her other picture-perfect features, her eyes brought her back to reality. Sunken in with contrasting reds and purples. She had been a welcome change, bringing scenery to the neighbourhood other than uptight businessmen.


The old concrete would pulse to the sound of classical music playing from inside the house, and wind chimes on the porch creating their own simple melodies and broken chords. Prisms would hang up on the broken down windowsill would bring colors into the bedroom window. The colors were soon shattered by the blood red of a fire truck, blaring a tune not as sweet as the one of the birds. The light of the prisms would be broken by the blue and red warning lights on the vehicle. As soon as the truck breaks the peace, it is gone, but the colors and sounds that were once there are no longer. Now there are leaves, tinged orange and ready for autumn falling prematurely, unnaturally, because of the truck. The leaves that had fallen the day before were stirred up, creating a colorful whirlwind on the tarmac.


Now the chimes are on the ground, the strings so broken down they could no longer hold them. The prisms cracked, and the glass door painted in a layer of dust. She is only ever seen through the windows, and we watch, as if we will be able to understand who she is from a window. He still comes as her only visitor, and only ever brings anger along with him. Her hair is now gray with layers and layers of dry shampoo in it, and the ends crunchy and dry. The body she had once tan and glowing, was now pale, sallow, and was becoming more and more bruised.


After her weekly trip to the bodega, she brings back an insufficient amount of food. One paper bag for her week. We found her shopping list drifting around on her steps and it consisted of three peaches, 14 sticks of peppered beef jerky, two bell peppers, a box of honey nut cheerios and three packs of peanut butter cups. It was showing. If it rained her collarbones could catch water. If he would yell at her, she would try her best to yell back but all that came from her throat sounded broken. She was slowing deteriorating, and all the neighbours would just talk, talk about how she’s falling down a hole and how she needs help, but never being the one to offer.


October 23rd was the day she decided to piece herself back together. The only effective and efficient way of doing this though, was by abandoning her home, leaving it and going anywhere, most likely to the nearest women’s shelter. She sat on a patch of grass next to her suitcase pressing a cool water bottle to her neck. Even from across the street, you could see the eagerness in her eyes. With that came fidgeting. Dark brown eyes darted up and down the street, waiting for the yellow of the cab to appear.


Once it did, she sprang up and revealed the grass stain on her old dress. The least of her worries. Although the driver had opened the trunk, she slammed it down with her right palm and grasped the bag handle in her left. In one swift motion, she tossed first the suitcase and then herself into the taxi. Since the slam of the car door, her house has remained the same, waiting for her to return. She hasn’t yet, since he still makes weekly trips. As caring as they look, the rage on his face when she still isn’t home makes it easy to understand her joy to leave.


© Copyright 2018 Lucy Draper. All rights reserved.

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