Sunday, July 26, 2009


This, house, loves.
Pink pedals and waltzing lyrics. Loyal pets and that signature Barnhartvale aroma of sagebrush and tired mudrooms—the same smell as Kelsey’s basement. But what makes this house—the house in which I will be spending the next three days—is the photographs. Pictures may speak louder than words; and in this case, I struggle to convey the love that this house has sheltered.
While it is a house of love, it is also mourning. Bleeding evidence of two lovers that were separated long before they were ready to say goodbye.
However, she has not forgotten him. Snapshots of this couple who were more than just married, but the best of friends and even each other’s muse, carefully watch over the home that they built together. His handsome smile surrounds her: by their CD collection, above the kitchen table, living room, hallways and of course, in their bedroom.
But for me to truly experience someone, I head to their CD player. I flip on the power, push play and a sultry male voice greets me. Together we drift through house as I become acquainted with the different rooms, smells and furniture. The CD is pleasant but best saved for a rainy day when I’m wearing slippers.
Disc 2 is ABBA. Now, normally, I detest ABBA. But for some reason, in Wendy’s house, ABBA is perfectly suited. It’s not an extravagant house, but it’s certainly zestful—like Wendy herself. She reminds me of Meryl Streep from that ABBA film Mama Mia that my mom overplayed the soundtrack to. She’s alone but ceasing the reins of life and stepping out to fully experience whatever she encounters. It is this energy that makes me proud to be trusted in her home.
Houses tell such wonderful stories and through my time here, I hope to learn who Wendy is as told by the items she possesses.
I saw a box when I was flipping on the stereo. It’s a shoebox with “Memories of Jim” scrawled in marker across the front. Right now, I don’t feel any desire to look inside because these people are still strangers. I wonder if she’s wept in this very chair I sit in? Its aged wood the only thing supporting her at her kitchen table across from a collage of family photos.
This house is human. It’s lived in and seen the best and worst. The walls do tell stories, so do the floors and the nicks on the counter tops. It’s a tapestry of a great love story.
Being here by myself without anyone special to spend the night with, I’ve learned how Wendy keeps company. Lucy is such a loving companion. I deeply miss having a dog. She’s already so protective and caring, even though we were just formally introduced a few hours ago. And, although before 11:30 tonight I would have hated myself for saying this, ABBA and I are getting along just fine. Actually, better than strange.

With a small glass of white wine to my left hand I return to the kitchen table, my right leg crossed. My pale knee peaks out from under my black dress and I’m comfortable and relaxed in my long black cardigan. Am I lonely? No, not entirely. I’m eager to have my own kitchen table and living room. To write whenever I want, however late I want. Staying up later than the dog and cats with the stereo singing, because I can.
However, as usual, I’m caught in a dichotomy. I love being alone but I’m not exceptional at it. I love people far too much. I also want to see the world and make some kind of difference. I remember a line from “Waking Life” that said something to the extent of “being in a constant state of coming and going.” That’s how I feel most of the time. I want to have a partner and a house and romance and consistency but at the same time I want to live out of freakin suitcase and see the world.
All we need is love, right?
Someone special described my staying here like “observing a movie set.” While a director pays careful attention to set design, actually living in someone else’s home provides the most genuine, outstanding detail to character that sparks imagination. As a writer, or an overly curious human being, being permitted access into another life—another world—is an exhilarating experience. I’m inspired.

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