Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Spouse and I went house gazing with the hope of finding a corner we might like to own. We determined before setting out that we ought to maintain composure during the search, and keep a steadfast grip on logic. Too much emotion, we knew, would overwhelm the senses and cause us to admire and desire each house we set foot in, thus obscuring our view of reality.
Just houses, we said. A collection of walls with a tiled lid. Bricks and mortar, and the various other elements that provide the framework for a dwelling. We were simply going to see some buildings.
Despite my best efforts, by sunset I had torn out two redundant sinks and replaced them with bookshelves- oak would be excellent, I thought- and added a fence around the building's perimeter- "just a low fence, but we can't have passers-by stamping on our lawn. We have to establish boundaries!"
I had nurtured to life an entire garden of blooming flowers and a bed of onions, quite the envy of all the neighbours- who were, it must be said, companionable people, tripping over themselves encouraging Spouse and I to feel welcome. I had two sets of friends come to visit from afar- along with streams of glowing remarks- and I gave the interior and exterior walls a fresh lick of paint for good measure.
They are indeed just houses until, accidentally, one entertains the faintest fragment of possibility- and the what-ifs and the we-coulds and the wouldn't-it-be-nices all come curling out of the shadows. Then one imagines the doorbell ringing expectantly, and the hint of a vegetable garden on the wind, and all the days and decades ahead that one might have in that house. And in that one. That one, too. And most definitely that one.
The trouble lies not in the appreciation of a single splendid house, but in the longing for all of them at once.
Posted by Phyllis Hunt McGowan at 4:52 PM