Italo Calvino said: The more enlightened our houses are, the more their walls ooze ghosts.
Image credit: “love Don’t live here anymore…” – © 2009 Robb North – made available under Attribution 2.0 Generic
House of Skeletons by Linda Nelson – © June 12, 2013
Tara loved the house she grew up in, she hadn’t been back home in over twenty years. How time flies and things change.
She pulled up to the curb and put the car in park. Tara could see the property from her car. A rickety For-Sale sign hung on a wooden post. She wondered how long the property had been for sale. How could the home that she had loved so much fallen into such disrepair?
“There it is,” she said to her best friend Maddy. “That’s where I grew up.”
“That is the house you are going to buy?” Maddy asked. “Your kidding me. You can’t fix that unless you plan on bulldozing it down.”
Tara got out of the car and walked briskly toward the rundown home, Maddy followed close behind. “I’m not going to plow this house into the earth. I can fix it, I know I can.” She poked her head in the doorway where the door was off it’s hinges and leaning up against the wall. Dirt billowed in the front door, spilling across the floor.
Tara stepped over the threshold to look about the building. The Real Estate agent would be there any minute.
The back part of the house was missing where the kitchen and the dining room used to be. All that remained of it was the broken caved in bricks. She had helped her mom bake many a cake and cookie in that kitchen. Her mom passed away while she was in her second year of college.
She could still picture her dad sitting in his recliner in the living room. The chair was no longer there, but her memory was, there he sat watching many a ball game on Saturday afternoons. None of the furniture remained, just the memory of it in her mind. A single tear streaked down her cheek.
Tara’s dad passed away six months ago from a heart attack. Being an only child now meant being alone. But she had Maddy, her best friend and the closest she had to family. Maddy was like a sister to her.
“Hello,” A voice called from outside the house.
“The Agent is here Tara.”
“Okay, can you tell her I will be right out?”
Tara waited for Maddy to step outside the doorway before she crossed what was left of the living room and stooped before the dusty fireplace hearth. There she found the loose brick and underneath it the ring she had hid when she was five. How her mom had gotten into so much trouble for reporting her engagement ring missing. Her dad was rip shit. Tara never told anyone that she had taken the ring. Today she couldn’t remember why she had taken it and not given it back. It was just water under the dam, and all she had left of a memory from a time long ago.
She left the home and stepped outside to greet the Real Estate Agent whom Maddy was now questioning about the price of the property.
“I’m sorry to say. I can’t sell it to you. The property is taken. It was sold last night.”
“Can’t we counter the bid?” Asked Maddy. She looked toward Tara out of concern.
“I’m sorry to say, the owner has already accepted the sale. The property has been paid for in cash up front.”
Tara’s eyes welled with tears. She was too late. She clutched the ring in the palm of her hand that was thrust deep inside her pocket. At least she had that. “It’s all right Maddy.”
“Can I show you another property?” the agent asked.
“No never mind. I only wanted this one because it was where I had been born and raised,” answered Tara. “Thank you for coming out to meet us.”
“Are you sure, I have other properties like this one.”
“No this was the only one I wanted. But can you tell me who bought it?” Tara asked.
“Oh yes, a very nice elderly man. I think he said his name was Barry Cooper.”
Tara felt the blood leave her face. She had no idea her uncle Barry was alive. Her folks told her that he had died when she was five and was never allowed to ask about him ever again. That was until she had entered college and had done a little bit of investigating that turned up a hidden secret. Apparently her Uncle Barry was her real father. No one knew except her dead parents and her. So the skeleton was about to return home and look in the closets and Tara would pay him a visit when he did.