What If We Dreamed of Shared Support Instead of Private Space?
It really was the house to end all houses: impossibly big, impossibly beautiful, and, ultimately, just impossible.
How many doors were there in the kitchen at the green house?
How many fireplaces total?
When did they sell the piano?
The Yellow House
The house is still there, but the space isn’t. Later owners sold off half the lot, possibly to weather some misfortune of their own. I remember that, when things went wrong, my parents considered keeping the house and selling the land instead. But my father refused to give up the space, even if it meant we could stay. It really was the house to end all houses: impossibly big, impossibly beautiful, and, ultimately, just impossible.
The Ice Stormsay
or “Teenage Suite,” according to the brochure). Essentially, I had my own wing, with a bedroom, a studio where I drew and painted, and a beautiful blue-tiled bathroom. I’d rejected a huge bright bedroom in the main part of the house because it was too close to the master suite, and I wanted as many doors as possible between me and my parents. So I was alone, in a way I very much wanted but also very much didn’t need. On bad days, I didn’t even visit the main part of the house, just snuck in my own door, took food from the kitchen, and retreated up my stairs, down my hallway, to my room.
I am rich. I am poor. I am smart. I am dumb. I’m an athlete. I’m a drunk. I’m beloved. I’m a slut. This is my home; I belong here. None of this is mine.
Hatching: Experiments in Motherhood and Technology
it’s the beginning of a spiral through a series of smaller and smaller houses that ends ten years later when, priced out of the suburbs, they move to the shabby little city next door.
Beth Boyle Machlan is a writer and teacher who lives in Brooklyn. She's working on a book of essays about real estate, identity, and desire. Her essays have appeared on Avidly, River Teeth, Guernica, The Rumpus, The Awl, and the New York Times. She yells about writing, teaching, her pets, and hockey at @bethmachlan.
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