A House, a Home

April 7, 2013
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I walk. Slowly, I make my way down the smooth concrete road, the white dashes in the center still giving off the burning stench of fresh tar. A house is at the end of the road, a nice two-story home with a picturesque oak tree dominating a square, green yard. A white picket fence lines the drive, guarding the blooming tulips and roses. It guides me up the smiling walkway to the shining wooden door with two panes of stained glass set into the top. Red, blue, and gold light shimmers across the WELCOME mat beneath my feet. I peer inside, step back, shocked.
I expected the interior to be beautiful-an upright piano in the corner, or a long, polished dining room table next to a spotless kitchen. I was wrong. It is empty. I feel like I have just worked up the nerve to slip my hand into the cookie jar, only to find there are no cookies left. Only crumbs remain. A chair with the stuffing leaking out, covered in a dusty sheet, is shoved against the far wall of the parlor; a sagging kitchen table hobbles along on three legs. Chewed out, yellowed newspapers are stacked haphazardly inside the door below mold that’s growing by the vent above. A child’s doll has been tossed to the rough wooden floor, forgotten and abandoned, unloved. This is not a house of happiness. This is a house of forgotten memories, broken dreams, and death.
I walk. A winding dirt road leads me to a quaint little cottage, set shyly inside the comfort the threes’ shadows provide. It is nondescript, gray stone, vines climbing up the sides like long hair hiding its face from view. I do not want to approach, but I must. My feet make no noise as they pick their way across the weed-choked yard, sunflowers and dandelions popping up all over the place, a bright spot to this dim, unappealing house. I hop on to the porch, wincing as the wooden floorboards shriek in protest, shivering as a water droplet from the patched roof above slides down the back of my neck.
Swiping a hand along the grimy pane of glass, I chance a glance inside. Once again, I’m surprised. Plain, homely furniture does not fill the space, but instead it is cluttered with books and papers and pencils. A desk-hastily stashed in the corner- is in disarray, the drawers open and gaping, spewing pencils, erasers, and hurriedly scribbled thought scrawled across scraps of paper. Open books are piled up on the desktop. An old but polished grand piano stands alone in the middle of the front room, basking in its glory as papers with almost imperceptible scribbles on them litter the face. This is not a plain house, nor is it a shy house. This is a house holding ideas and thoughts and dreams not displayed on the outside, but bursting forth like a geyser on the inside.
I walk. Smiling to myself, I saunter off down a narrow gravel road. Rocks crackle and crunch under my feet. A chain link fence blocks my egress, staring disapprovingly down at me. My first instinct is to shy away from the foreboding appearance of it and the house in the compound behind, but I stand my ground, glaring back defiantly. Finally, I force myself to move, unlatching the gate as quietly as I can and stepping onto dead, brown grass. I pace slowly through the yard as it fades to dirt when I draw closer to the house. It is little more than a shack, really-dark, cramped, prickly as a thorn bush. It warns me not to take one more step, but I don’t listen.
Instead, I plant my feet firmly on the crumbling cinderblock that acts as a step to the threshold of the door. The window closest to the door is shattered, the carnage of broken glass strewn across the yard. I am afraid of what I might see, but my eyes flick inside. Perhaps the most surprising discovery yet, I see that the house is not dead or dangerous at all. But it is bright. A warm fire crackles in the compact hearth; trinkets and odds and ends line the mantelpiece. Pictures of smiling faces are plastered across the walls while half-open presents are scattered across the floor, waiting in barely contained anticipation to be returned to. Faint but distinct laughter floats through the house, swelling and building until it explodes out the open window, infecting me with its happiness. I try to suppress my grin.
This is not a house of night. This is a house of light, a house of love, a house of life. This is not a house. This is a home.

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Laugh-it-Out This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Apr. 17, 2013 at 8:46 pm
Omg this is amazing!! I actually really get what you mean, the metaphors and the themes. I know how hard it can be to break through a stiff reputation, but it is possible to overcome when people see you for who you really are. I love this peice. I think the title is realistic and engaging. I also love the repetition of "i walk" over and over again. Rally good poem I also checked out your other peice, the one about homeless people. Also I was wondering if you could take a look at some of my stuff... (more »)
tuckertwin12 replied...
Apr. 17, 2013 at 9:41 pm
Thanks! I really appreciate it! And yeah! I'd love to read your stuff! Anything you had in mind?
LexusMarie said...
Apr. 14, 2013 at 11:17 am
Hey there! So, this turned 'Don't judge a book by it's cover' into something MORE. I had always heard different short stories with the theme of not judging someone/something off of basically first impressions, but this perspective was something I had never thought of or heard of before. I love that! This is very original! The title is very deceiving, you don't expect the story to go the way it does and that it very special, I really like how the title made me think something ... (more »)
tuckertwin12 replied...
Apr. 14, 2013 at 12:01 pm
Thank you so much! I really appreciate you taking the time to write such detailed comments! It means a lot! I will be sure to read your story "Chelsea" and I've red "$50 Cologne" and it was amazing! Thanks again!
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