April 2017

“The one thing that you have that nobody else has is you.  Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision.  So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can.” -Neil Gaiman

house

In exactly 500 words, what is happening here?

Michael Lejeune says:

I am setting down these words and mailing to you today, dearest Aunt Agatha, in a different spirit than I typically do in our monthly correspondence. In fact I’ve already written a response to your January letter and was planning to mail it Monday morning, and I’d have included this note with it but for fear that something dreadful may happen to me today, tomorrow, or Sunday that will prevent that letter from making its way to the letter-carrier’s box.

Please do not be alarmed, however. It is the last thing I would want. As you know, a great many things frighten me in this world and it is normal for me to be alarmed. Your calm demeanor is wonderful and, dare I say, precious, and I would not seek to disturb it with what is likely only a symptom of a winter fever or a vapor I’ve caught from that dubious pipe in the basement I often complain of. But even so, I would still choose to remain in the basement. Windows, as you know, are not my friend.

So, on with the topic that prompted me to put pen to paper. I have enclosed herewith a photograph that I took with the digital camera you sent me for my birthday last fall, and printed on the color printer you bundled it with. I know I have not used them much and I apologize, I do appreciate your generosity but, as you know, I do not venture away from home and there is little to enjoy visually in my basement abode. I have hoped to make more use of them in spring, when I begin birdwatching from the back yard.

In this picture, which I hastily took in the yard before beating a quick retreat back to the safety of my dwelling and the radiant woodstove therein, you see two houses across the corner of the park. One is on this side of Garden Street, facing to the left. The other, a two-story colonial on the other side of the street, is facing the first house. It is this second house that I wish to draw your attention to. You see, it was not there yesterday.

I am certain you will vouch for my encyclopedic knowledge of the surrounds visible from my home, and particularly from the back yard where, as you know, I observe and catalog avian varieties in the warmer months. And so I know without a doubt you will believe me when I state that I am absolutely certain that the house sitting in that place was not there the day prior. Yesterday, it was a low, damaged garage housing Mr. Fletcher’s motorcycle. I know this like I know my own hands.

But there is more. In the viewscreen of the camera I could not capture it, but I swear to you the house is breathing. It swells and shrinks with the rhythm of lungs.

And I tell you truly, Agatha, it looked directly at me.


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