They Say That Doors Will Open Soon As You Find The Missing Key
When fire eats the corner house, I walk a different way. I don’t like the bones of it, how easily the snow blows through. There is no other reason. One-point-five miles away, the house we call ours heats & stretches & molds its new skin—new paint, new cushions, a framed picture above our bed. A flag. A flag of pictures around the flag. We’ve travelled, the pictures say. And now we’re here.
The skinless house smolders for a long time. From the outside, it used to look perfect. Perfectly square. The chimney was a movie chimney. Windows like shiny boxes. When I used to leave you to walk past it, I wore a big furry coat to keep me warm. It made me feel like a movie star, like broad shoulders and thick bones. Like I could really make an impression on a body.
When men come to fix the skinless house, they tear it down first & then build it back up. This is one way to make repairs. After it’s done I sneak out to it at night when you’re sleeping. It feels like betrayal because it is. The lot is a mess. There is broken lumber in the yard, covered in snow. I am covered in snow. I stand in front of the new walls & try to whistle the old walls up from the pile. A sound comes out. Maybe I’m learning something. Maybe I’m just fighting the cold.
This story originally appeared in NANO Fiction 8.2. Pick up your issue today.