The Old House

Can’t believe it’s been so long since I’ve posted anything. Lately I’ve been focusing almost entirely on school. When I’m not, I’m either reading for my own pleasure or watching The Office. Right now, I’m on to book two of the Neapolitan Series by Emily Ferrante. I read book one for school and loved it, so I bought the second one and I plan on buying the other two when I’m done. I’m also reading book one of My Struggle by Knausgaard and enjoying that as well.

I didn’t write this story for school. I needed a change of pace from all the reading I’ve been doing. There needs to be a balance between reading and writing. The extra reading, I think, has definitely helped my writing significantly. I can see it in this story and in the story I wrote last week for my workshop. Hope you enjoy.

The Old House

There’s an old wooden house at the end of the long block lined with trees stripped of their leaves from last night’s storm. The grass on the lawn is overgrown and yellow, and a hole is slowly forming from the unchecked septic tank where the neighborhood children jump up and down testing their fate. I used to tell them not to jump, but they tell their friends to jump, and their friends tell their friends to jump, so they all jump.

No one has lived in the house for the last five years. It seems to attract older people already on their way out. The house is simple: no upstairs, a flat lawn with a large concrete porch in front, and a short, narrow driveway. The house is on the corner, with small, ten-foot evergreen trees on the perimeter that group together on the far end of the property. In there, kids from the high school drink and smoke pot, but I don’t call the police. No one else does either.

Everyone that lives in the neighborhood now lived their when they were little. I grew up around the block, Denise next door lived two blocks over, and Harry lived next door to  who lived next to the park. When we were children, we rode our bikes through the neighborhood. In middle school, we rode through the bike path, where the homeless sought refuge. The old man in the old house was still alive, but not for long. We could tell by how high the grass was getting. He used to be active, taking the time to cut the lawn one every week or two, but as his back started to go, we saw less and less of him.

He passed away the week before school started. We wanted summer to end with a bang. The year before, we played baseball sun-up to sun-down, but we couldn’t tell anyone at school that. Instead, we decided to drink in the makeshift fort we built in the trees that the old man never tended to. After a couple beers each, none of us remember whose idea it was, but we tried at the back door to see if it would open. It did. Everything looked as expected: white walls yellowed by secondhand cigar smoke, musty odors coming from the furniture, and soda in the fridge that expired three Christmas’s ago. A single newspaper cover was pinned on the wall of the only bedroom in the house, something about the Yankees.

We left immediately after. The emptiness of the room—the entire house—was too much. His presence still lingered like a ghost. None of us were able to talk about it, considering how illegal it was. We didn’t realize it at the time. I feel bad we did it, but I’m not sorry.

I avert my eyes from the house and look at the living room. A large crack is forming across the ceiling, the same crack I said I would get to by the end of the week last week. I walk outside, and look at the gutters filled with leaves. Then I notice the windows aren’t as clear as they used to be as well. I sigh and go back inside wondering if I’m next. I check the backyard thoroughly, forgetting about the tea kettle I just put on the stove that could use a good cleaning.

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