Saturday, February 11, 2012

The Howling House

I moved into my house precisely because it howled. I was lucky enough to view it on a blustery day and even though the realtor said, Oh, That's Just The Wind, I knew better. Down the pitch of the roof the shingles paraded in a pack, as though skidding on the side of a mountain. When I turned on the furnace the floors heaved and hummed, and when I walked through the empty rooms, flipping on lightswitches, the wallpaper squinted and blinked its yellow eyes. I'll Take It, I said. This would be the best house I had ever lived in, a walkway to warble at mailmen, gutters to growl at Girl Scouts, flanked on all sides by drywall and beast.

It was an adjustment, of course. The couch was always covered in fur. The goldfishes vanished from their bowl-- I didn't replace them, I knew what would happen-- and the carpet barked when I started up the vacuum. I couldn't leave meat in the fridge and expect it to be there when I got home: I learned this the hard way, and returned to find the refrigerator door gaping open, vegetables wilted and milk gone sour, the styrofoam tray from the sirloin mangled on the floor. But the doorknobs snored wetly through their leather nostrils at night, and the house purred as it settled on its foundation, and for the first time in my life I didn't mind living alone.

When Mark came over for dinner, he said he kept hearing something pant, but when I looked around, I only saw the tile, licking its chops with its eyes on the gravy. It's Just The Wind, I told him, coaxing the plug of the Cuisinart between the outlet's ivory teeth. He said he couldn't stay; he kissed me goodnight and stepped over the coat closet's tail, raising each foot high so as to avoid touching it. No matter. The bathtub and I licked one another clean, and I settled down to sleep without him on the warm whiskered floor.


  1. love as always, you inspire such beautiful pictures in my brainspace