Short Story: The House

There was once a house. It was just a house. It had nothing in it. It sat there waiting for owners. Knowing each day that passed it would fall slowly apart. Each creek turning into a crack. Each windswept night erasing its glorious color. The house held in itself the memories of those that passed. The house held the joy of life, the somberness of death. It turned with each season, decorated, repainted, restored, dilapidated. It went on. It held within its walls the secrets of those that lived. It held them in the cold, it protected them from the heat. It went on without knowing if it was alive, or if it was just hearing things.

The house could not feel its arms. It did not have any. It could not feel its heart, for it did not beat. Still, it was alive. Its heart was the fireplace that burned on cold nights sweeping up ashes into the chimney, sprinkling them into the air so that soft smells of wood spread to nearby homes as if sharing the soul of this house with others. Its eyes were the windows upon which the world was shown to that inside. They stood looking out, seeing the world beyond, watching the trees grow, the squirrels running up and down the acorn tree. The watched first walks, and last ones. They held the people within with light, and with darkness, and prevented the rain from pouring in. Its arms were the walls that stretched out on all sides holding and hugging those within. The walls upon which art was drawn, that paint was pushed on, that wallpaper was stuck on, and they were there for every hand up, for every soft touch as a hand wistfully touched the house as if to acknowledge it was there.

The house was there as a fixture for every moment, it sat there year after year, decade after decade, until one day when the time came for the house to be no more. It was not one thing that broke the house, nor one thing that destroyed it. It was time. Time brought it into existence, time measured it’s every moment. Now the time has caught up the house. The hands of the hourglass that holds the fate over life, and death ticked closer to the grim reaper and the house knew it was time. The shutters of its eyes had fallen off, its walls began to crumble. The last people left the home in boxes of black, the door was locked, the key placed away. They came and emptied it, but the remains of the house were no longer wanted. Time clicked on by.

The house missed the laughter, the joy, the sadness. It missed the smell of muffins and the deep charcoal of burnt toast. It missed the old woman in the window knitting, it missed the young child who sat and sang in the yard. The roof fell, the ceiling buckled, the house began to fall. It felt itself crumbling until only its foundation remained. Time clicked further on. People came with machines, to remove the last lumps of the house. The house sighed with its last breath, and into the dirt, it fell. The memories shattered out like glass. All that was in that house erased to time. A new house was built over top of the old lump of dirt. Years went on, more dirt, more homes. Yet there underneath all that remained. Those above remembered it, honored it, and the house that was now a part of the earth smiled. It knew that it was part of that, eternally part of a time of memory and it felt remembered.

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