Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Seven things I like: Part five

5. Home

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.

My home.

18 comments:

hiphophippie.com said...

Sigh. I miss home. Yours sounds dreamy. :)

Sara said...

Wow.

I seriously just got goosebumps. I wish I had 1/190294632935th of the writing skill you have. You're amazing. I love you. Please keep wowing me forever.

(Did that sound a little dirty to you?)

rubbish said...

Sounds a great home.

The Vegetable Assassin said...

Home is all of those things. It's all very well to have stylish decor and hip furnishings, they're still nothing without all the comfortable trappings and controlled mayhem of a real home. Who needs a cold and uninviting place devoid of any worn remnants and cosiness? No one. Your house sounds like a comfortable and happy place to be.

Ellie said...

I like the speed of this one.

Eric said...

@Vegetable Assassin - what's wrong with cold marble? I'd live in the Pantheon if they would let me...

Didactic Pirate said...

Very nice. Thanks for letting us take a tour of your home.

(I hope you don't mind -- I had to use your bathroom really quick on the way out. You may want to stay out of there for about 20 minutes or so.)

The mad woman behind the blog said...

How apropos. I was just writing about being thoroughly intimidated by other writer's talents. You my dear, knocked this one out of the park.

Scary thing: I could walk through your house blindfolded without bumping into one piece of furniture. Well done.

Baglady said...

Really beautiful post - your descriptions make me want to visit, grab a chair on the porch and spend a night gassing with the inhabitants. Just lovely.

Philip said...

That was gooooood. Paced beautifully, never overdone. You have a writer's eye. Sometimes what you write takes my breath away. I'm loving these seven. Of all the bloggers I read, you are the one that I look forward to most.

Penny Dreadful said...

Great. This could stand for an 'everyman' home in any story of any family, but is entirely personal and affectionate. The little details make it - I was so drawn to the palm tree cushion on the wicker chair.

the eternal worrier: said...

Great writing. I love the way its just delivered as a description. It also sounds like a fantastic house.

Maryx said...

I REALLY like this post. I REALLY like how you wrote and how visual you made it. Thank you for sharing.

BugginWord said...

Yum. That was perfect. I think I might stay here a little longer and twirl my fingers around in that cool, calming imagery. I'll try to keep the ripples small.

JUST ME said...

God do I love porches. Especially screened-in porches. Or porches that look out onto the ocean.

Nice writing, mama.

Mr London Street said...

Check my blog out. You've won something.

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

Oh, this was wonderful. Vivid description, nothing sentimental, but filled with love. (I came over from Mr London Street.)

Stumbling, Falling, Dreaming & Flying said...

i love the idea of home.