They pull up on the old house; eaves cascading down off of a gallant porch, paint chipping, only some of the old stainless windows still intact. It is the first time she has laid eyes on it, but her mood is stirred and her curiosity peaked. The gate awaits them, ominous; it calls to her. But why would this old place full of relics and memories call to her? Why would she be drawn in to a decrepit place? It should feel like a trap with its great neediness pouring out, like a load weighing her down. But she feels enthralled by its saddened majesty. Drawn to the house, she wants to know more.
He pulls their little car into the gravel driveway with the foot long grass bursting forth between the two tracks. The lawn is decorated with dandelions, thistles and wild weeds of all sorts, overgrown and luscious. Opening the car door, she kicks off her keds, already unlaced, reaches over and strips off her socks. She then plants her bare foot into the weeds and feels an immediate release. Her other foot follows with the same zeal.
He waits for a minute to get out of the car, fumbling or thinking she knows not what. Slamming the car door she shouts, ‘Blare the music!’ and drops her bag in the driveway, as she leaps through the yard, spinning and dancing. She flops her body, fatigued from years of bearing others’ emotional weight, onto the ground, growing and spurting with organic life. He turns the music up, Merle Haggard, and the notes trickle off her skin as the earth soothes her. "Twinkle, twinkle lucky star, can you send me luck from where you are? Can you make a rainbow shine that far? Twinkle, twinkle lucky star…"
Merle’s voice is soft and like butter, yanking at the tapes and the messages from her upbringing and purging them from her system. Sparrows flutter in the sky, swooping and diving around the yard then back to their nests in the old house. She asks herself, ‘Am I home?’ ‘"Come and see this!" he shouts spiritedly from the front porch. Raising herself up, she saunters to the car and grabs her shoes and her bag. Crossing over to the brick walk, thick with moss and crackery, she walks carefully, the soles of her feet tender. As she walks up the paint-chipped, thick and wide steps of the house, she finds herself on a porch that feels much more than just any old porch. Standing on it, she feels the old boards hugging her to them, wanting her to stand there. She looks out across the street to the rest of the neighborhood, modern seventies, refurbished craftsman, 90’s duplexes, and what she sees changes all of a sudden. She is looking into another realm, or rather, out from another realm. Here, standing on this porch she feels touched. Everything is seen through a veil of serenity. ‘Yes,’ she thinks, ‘I am home.’
Sweetly, he is sitting on a rickety old swing, and she tells him she is unsure whether she should join him as it might just all collapse any moment. He laughs adoringly and pats his lap. Her shoes and bag unfold from her clutches, like a bloom popping from a cherry branch in the ides of March. Resting there, in his arms, she lets go even more. Perhaps this is home, for more than a year or two. Perhaps they can find a way to claim it or own it. Deep in her heart she knows it cannot be claimed. It is just theirs for the time being… loaned from an angel, who is perched on the roof this very moment. All that matters is that she is feeling, releasing and finally, coming to a resting place. The evening light pours through the crack from the two houses across the street, and dances with the gnats that hover over the moist, lush and green yard. Late spring in Missouri, sweltering days on their way, not all is lost. No, not all is lost.