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Serendipity for Serenity

"a beautiful house too good to be true; often is."

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It was difficult to be the type of person Serenity was in this day and age. Her last boyfriend Crenshaw did not understand her attraction to buildings over people. He didn’t understand why she hoarded, collected housing magazines and architecture manuals like others collect other more normal things. It was the geometry and beauty of them.  They held a kind of symmetry that humanity didn’t.

And so when she found this house, covered with vines, with creaky wooden floors - she was instantly smitten and in love.  She looked around in awe and marveled at the angles and shadows, and the energy - stale or preserved with quiet life just blooming and skittering about in solitude. She took off her backpack and slowly introduced herself to the place, trying to be as respectful as possible.

She felt it respond to her, energetically,  like a kind of magic.  Pressing a hand to one of the walls, she felt her body flush in a kind of attraction-like chemistry between lovers. 

“Do you want to be mine, beautiful edifice? I don’t mean that in an ownership way, understand.  I mean it as perhaps a kind of… courtship? I would like to know you.  And maybe let you know me, should you want to?”  She spoke to the walls in a soft whisper, her Bengali accent made her voice always sound like music.

She looked around at the space of the house -  vines weaving inside the wood, birds perched in nests. There was the kind of stillness that came with listening. 

Serenity walked around more, taking her jacket and wrapping it around her waist,  as she went up the creaky stairs. The sunlight from the windows up here made her photographer’s heart blush and she felt her body pulse with attraction again, letting her hand out to wade through the particles of the light beam, like fingers running through hair.  “How long has it been since someone’s been here?  How long since someone’s walked your halls and rooms?”  

Inhaling a sharp breath, the air fragrant with dust and mold,  it made her heart break - in a bittersweet way,  grateful that the dust and mold had kept this beautiful building company but sad that it was dust and mold.  

Briefly, she imagined living here - being here in the summers, an old house such as this, with no modern central air - long nights of sweat and sweltering - the wood of the doors bloated from humidity.  And in the winter, she imagined sitting in front of the windows, exhaling her hot breath on the glass, to reveal the snowflakes clinging there - slowly weeping from the hot air of her body. She’d draw her initials in the condensation. So that the house would remember they were not alone. That they had more than birds,  insects, mold and dust.  She would have built trust with it. And tended to it. Made a home of it.  

Suddenly there was a slide of something falling behind her and Serenity spun around to see what it was. And there was a man standing there, eating an apple, he had big startled eyes. 

“What are you doing here in my home?” he asked in an angry tone. It was in a language she was still learning to speak, but she held up her hands and tried to look as harmless as possible.

“I'm a tourist here. I got lost.”   

The man frowned. “You lie,” he hissed.

“I don’t mean any harm, let me grab my bag and I will leave, okay?”

The man didn’t say anything, just scowled at her with his prominent brow and dark eyes the same color as his dark hair.  She walked past him and sped downstairs. Serenity grabbed her bag then left the house quickly and made her way back to her car and drove back to town. 

The next day she was telling her host family about the house she found and the whole time Daniela was making the most curious expression. Serenity paused in the middle of the story.

“Is this tale bothering you?”

“You went to House covered by overgrown trees, on dirt road? Gray paint?” Daniela asked, her German accent lightly putting gaps in her English syntax.

“You know it?  What do you know of the man who lives there?  The house is in such a state of disrepair,  I wonder if he  --”

“Serenity.  There is no one that lives in that house. Ever since his wife died, the husband that survived, he moved away without a word,  no one has lived there since.”

“What?”

“It’s abandoned.  The only reason why the banks won’t tear it down is because several endangered species of insects live there. They figured it wouldn’t harm anything to let the bugs have it.”

“But I saw a man. He was eating an apple.  He asked why I was in his home”

“Prominent brow, with dark hair and eyes?”

“Yes.”

“That’s how the husband looked,  he was a coal miner. Long hours in the dust.”

“You’re saying I saw his ghost?”

“Deduce what you want, I wasn’t there, all I know is that the house is abandoned and has been for years.  It could stand to endure a little affectionate attention from you if you wish to give it.  Just be careful.  I don’t want you getting hurt.” Daniela said with a shrug, taking a swig of her drink.

“Of course…” Serenity said in a distracted tone.

The rest of the day went by in a blur. Later that night, once her hosts had gone to sleep, Serenity slipped back out to the house. Stopping at the end of the dirt road, her mouth went agape. There was a light on in the upper floor window, and a silhouette of a woman, with a figure much like hers staring out toward the road, as if straight at Serenity herself, waiting.

Published 
Written by OpheliaTusk
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