The flowers were loud and the sky was very yellow. Everything twittered and breathed, and most things hummed and winked. It was a late spring afternoon, and the person we want to talk about walks by.
She was a happy girl, and she was doing what happy girls have always done: she had joined a friend for a walk.
Her friend took her through a neighborhood that she did not know, and introduced her to the houses and yards and rooftops along the street.
“What about this one?” the girl asked. The friend she was on a walk with said, “Oh, yes and that is a house, too!” and kept walking.
But the girl stayed still, watching it. It had character, and she was curious.
She took to walking by it everyday. She started playing on it’s porch. No matter what she did the building stood still and immobile.
“Why does no one live here?” the girl wondered at the door. But the door, like the rest of the house, just stayed shut.
“Why is there no mailbox?” the girl asked the sidewalk, but the sidewalk ran away in both directions, not wanting to answer either.
The girl thought the evasiveness of the house’s crankiness was funny, almost sweet. The girl came back every day.
Slowly light began to shine out of the windows. And the girl—who kept asking questions and got braver with every silence—started doing cartwheels on the lawn as if she had been doing so her whole life. She loved the freedom of an empty house! Nothing to pay for, no reason to go inside. ‘I will be so excited for the family that moves in!’ she would think. ‘We will be such friends!’
Day after day, the house began to loosen the locks.
And then her walks stopped abruptly– she had moved to a whole new side of town (she had found the perfect location for work, thank goodness). She missed seeing the house, and wanted to write to it…but how do you write to a house that has hid it’s mailbox on purpose? The girl didn’t understand, and the Not Understanding made her angry, and being angry made her look at the house differently.
There was never a mailbox! It never looked for a family, a person! It never said anything unless I fell, or I played! It thought it was better than every other house on the street, I’m sure!
She started calling it ‘a stupid house anyway’ whenever she thought about it. ‘Did it think I would move in?!” the girl would think in a high shrill brain-voice. ‘Well I was not,’ the girl would cry, and on sad nights she would whisper this to the warm walls that she actually lived in.
One day she woke up with a very good idea. She picked up her pen and shook, and sighed, I shall write only the Truth. The pen scrawled out:
“You are a very lovely house. If you keep your windows open and your lights on, I know that Someone will walk by you one day and see that you are Full of Something. I don’t know why you hide this. Someone will move in very quickly and they will dance very beautifully on your porch. If you worry that they cannot get in because you have too many locks, that is a lie, I saw so myself. So that’s very good news for you. I would like to visit sometime, if that is okay.”
She finished the letter, licked the envelope, and didn’t bother herself about putting an address. ‘There is only one place for a letter with no address’ she thought, nodding to the mail man.
Whether the house got the letter, we aren’t supposed to know. But I’m an omniscient narrator, so I actually know what happened.
Her unaddressed letter really did indeed reach the unaddressed house.
The house only shrugged, and stood still and immobile.
And it did not and would not turn on it’s lights, or unlock it’s doors. It was an empty house, and so it kept doing what all empty houses have always done:
Wait for Someone to move in.
And things continued to breathe, and hum, and twinkle, kiss, beat, run, ache right through this story, the entire time actually.
And we’re meant to wonder what that meant, if anything, for either of them, or really any of us at all.