Sep 14, 2017
It was blue with white trim. There was a front door with stone front steps which were used only by visitors who didn’t know the family well and a side door that they called the back door which had two window panes with glass and one bottom window pane with plexiglass because it had accidentally been kicked in too many times. This was the door where everyone came and went. Years later a new garage was built close to the house and years after that the new garage was turned into a little cottage, but when the kids were growing up it was all just a big circular gravel driveway with one square of concrete sidewalk hidden underneath, near the grass in the middle. There was a big maple tree out back with a wrap-around tree house, complete with a diving board for jumping like a dive bomber onto the circle swing, back and forth in a wide and wild pendulum. In the side yard stood the enormous pine with a make-shift treehouse of its own made up of two boards wedged between some branches high above. The kids and their friends knew just which branches to step on to make it up to the tree house where they’d sit and feel far and away above the world. In back, behind the gravel driveway was the great old barn, mostly empty except for some old tools and and rakes and cobwebs. Behind that stood the orchard with about a dozen fruit trees–apples, cherries, plums, pears, one pie cherry tree that baited the children by making its fruit bright red and teasing them with a taste bitter tart–and a handful of bountiful and much-beloved blueberry bushes that bore enough fruit to eat some in the sun and keep the rest in the freezer for blueberry pankcakes all winter long. Out front there was a pale pink rose bush with a soft, sweet fragrance and, on the far side of the house where no one ever went, a weeping willow. For some years there were tall, proud shasta daisies lining the front yard along the road, but in time they were trodden down by the teenage friends who parked out front. The face of the house was simple. There was the front door with stone steps, a large window in the living room, a small one looking out from the stairs, two regular-sized ones looking out over the front porch from the front bedroom. But the thing they always made sure to draw when they sketched the house was the little half-circle window in the attic, which, if it was dark outside and the attic light was on, glowed like it was smiling a secret.