There’s a house at the end of a short, winding dirt road. It sits on an incline, the stormy blue sides looking almost grey from a distance. It’s a normal house – small, comfortable, and filled with people to keep it clean and running. A Bradford pear tree, planted 10 years ago, has finally grown tall enough to reach the shingles and the large, sloping lawn is a beautiful shade of green.
The patio furniture has clearly been used often and a grill stands ready in the corner. Sidewalk chalk drawings litter the pavement and gardening supplies lie scattered on the surrounding brick wall, the remnants of an abandoned Sunday project. A deaf, fat yellow lab lolls on his back in the half empty flower bed, convinced that his owners are just as lazy as him and won’t be back to finish their planting.
The front door opens to the rarely used, pale yellow dining room. It’s simple, with a small gold chandelier and heavy, unadorned antique furnishings. The old table looks more at home covered in the debris of their day than it does under the spread of china – school drawings, book bags, purses, mail, and a grocery bag or two. It’s the hub, the quickest way in and out, where everyone stops to rifle for their keys or tie their shoes, where they shout “I’m home” and open waiting arms.
On either side of the dining room there are two large bedrooms, added on years ago. One is blue and one is Pepto-Bismol pink, though they are both covered in obnoxiously printed carpet – colorful fibers swirled together and punctuated with white stars, moons, and spirals that glow in the dark. The blue room’s closet doors are made up of four sliding mirrors and while originally thought to be a luxury, the room’s resident is in constant upset over the traffic they’ve caused.
In the blue room the furniture is heavy and dark, a matching antique set, and the bedding a chocolate brown with blue accents. The blinds stay closed and the dark curtains stay drawn, giving the room a distinctly gothic vibe, not unlike its owner’s thick black eyeliner. And though the resident of the pink room had no hand in choosing the hideous color of her walls, she is quite confident that her room is superior. The furniture might be mismatched and the closet might be smaller with economical white folding doors, but it’s homey.
The walls are covered with artfully framed paintings and the desk with attached shelves is filled with books. Pink and green homemade curtains hang open at the windows and the tall bed is covered in a worn, white flowered comforter. A wicker chair with a palm tree printed cushion sits in a corner next to another overflowing shelf of books. Everything looks orderly on the surface, everything neatly placed and dusted, but one flip of the bed skirt would reveal a different story entirely.
The dining room runs into the kitchen, wall papered with a flower and pottery design that no one will own up to choosing. It’s a small room with the same pale hardwood floors as the dining area and a set of white folding doors in the corner concealing the laundry room. A wooden breakfast table serves as an island. Two stools are nestled underneath on the slotted bottom, but rarely used because of the broken piece that gets knocked off every time one is moved. Nailing it back in place is, apparently, out of the question.
The living room furniture is thick and comfortable, with overstuffed cushions and pillows with geometric designs. The sides are scored with nail marks from disobedient cats and the stuffing is leaking in a few unobtrusive places. Two side tables and a matching coffee table are decorated with candle holders, lamps, and coasters. Recently the coffee table has started to match the worn couches, with its edges being chewed to rough nubs by a certain new puppy. The walls are covered in cherry framed photos of The Battery, Rainbow Row, lighthouses, and other Charleston landmarks. A lone plant stands on a hand painted stool, flourishing in spite of several murder attempts, next to a table full of family photos – graduations, birthdays, football and cheerleading.
On one side of the living room is a bright purple bedroom with shiny white furniture, and a playroom covered in toys and sticky fingerprints. Attempts to clean either are rather half hearted due to the overwhelming amount of items. There simply isn’t enough room and things often spill over into the adjoining bathroom decorated with seashells.
On the other side is the last bedroom, the master suite that, ironically, is one of the smallest rooms in the house. It’s painted a pale blue and covered with large paintings of Charleston ghosts walking amongst the town. There’s nothing remarkable about the room, really, other than the fact that that particular bed is where everyone gathers on Saturday mornings. From the smallest resident to the oldest, five in all, piled together in pajamas with steaming cups of coffee, laughing and talking about the day ahead, begging for breakfast, or just lying in a pool of early morning sunshine.
And saving the best for last: the porch.
Long, carpeted, and screened in – it functions more like a lounge. Three ceiling fans stir the humid air around, making the summer a bit more bearable. Two tall glass tables with four tall chairs each are all that’s needed. A pair of binoculars, an ashtray, and a glass candle holder shaped like a frog sit atop the table with the best view of the lake and, of course, the neighbors. It’s where the most action happens – Parties and spilled glasses of wine, late night discussions in the pitch dark, broken toes and petty arguments, tearful confessions, secret make out sessions, videos, thick novels and condensation rings.
The entire house, even the porch, is lived in, memories good and bad around every corner. Some faces have changed, some claw marks on the couch are new, and sometimes it gets a bit crowded. It’s not fancy and expensive or stylish. It’s just home.
1 week ago