The Neighborhood | Teen Ink

The Neighborhood

June 7, 2019
By Amehja GOLD, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Amehja GOLD, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
15 articles 4 photos 3 comments

Favorite Quote:
"The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter—'tis the difference between the lightning-bug and the lightning." ~ Mark Twain


As heavy, thick droplets of spring rain pummeled and soaked the flimsy newspaper I held above myself as a makeshift umbrella, I dashed down the sidewalk; hoping to arrive at my colleague’s home before my overcoat became completely drenched. Following a path lit only by faded streetlamps, I soon found myself standing in front of a narrow, yet somewhat tall, unremarkable suburban home crowded densely by other cookie-cutter residences. The long, interminable suburban street stood packed, almost overwhelmingly, like the lush woodlands of the spring season. The structure seemed to slant slightly in such a manner that only a skilled architect could distinguish the peculiarity. Even so, the house appeared ordinary as it shared many of the quotidian features one would expect of a suburban dwelling. A small, square garden overgrown with tulips and lilacs crouched in the corner of the small yard, but the verdant grass around it grew unkempt. Loud, daffodil-yellow paint coated the exterior of the house. It was almost an idyllic family home, just as the rest of the houses down the street were. However, the subtle slant of the house, the overbearing, lurid flowers blooming all about the garden, and then the single square window on the second floor of the house glowing a dim yellow made for the slightest feeling of perturbation to accost my mind. The pleasant-looking nature of it’s happy face, marred with minute imperfections, was that of a clown smiling coyly.

I looked into the innocent, square-eye windows and I could not bring myself to escape from the elements into the shelter of the house, for I imagined that I would be trapped in that shelter, just as I was trapped in the gentle stare of the house. The sight of the neighborhood left a bad taste in my mouth, similar to that of second-rate “fruit” juice—the saccharine, cloying and emetic aftertaste of high-fructose corn syrup and processed sugar. Consequent of all the garish colors and lavish decorations of one neighbor attempting to outdo another, all the houses left essentially the same impression—except for my colleague's, of course—which somehow made the street depressingly mundane and monotonous, yet repulsively gaudy. I could compare the countenance of the houses to nothing but that of glacé candy; smooth and superficially polished but, in truth, composed of diabetes and death. Realizing the ludicrousness of my reverie, I broke from the gaze of the house and peered down the street back at the bus stop I had just departed. Then glancing back towards the house—I shook from my mind the fancies I’d indulged—and heaving a great breadth of earthy petrichor musk, allowing the spring air to reinvigorate my spirit. I drew myself up, and climbed the cracked short stone steps before me.


The author's comments:

A "modernized" version of the opening of "The Fall of the House of Usher" by E. A. Poe.


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