Author: Ethan Chang PM
Within a barely-standing family, two soon-to-be adults struggle to understand themselves, their purpose, and each other.Rated: Fiction K - English - Family - Chapters: 6 - Words: 4,882 - Published: 03-28-12 - Status: Complete - id: 3008788
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Don't ask me what I am about. If anyone asked me to tell the hollow story of my life as if it were something complete, I would choose to remain silent. To be honest, I think that all of our lives are hollow. We only get to know pieces of people. We only get to know fragments of the truth. We borrow dreams and bury ourselves with them.
That's not how I'll start.
At night, when the house is empty and my mind is calm enough to wander, I like to walk from room to room. I like to listen to the rhythm of my footsteps as I admire the beauty and symmetry of every floor, ceiling, and doorway. I imagine I drew out every detail of this house and built it from the ground up. Beauty is a solid foundation. Beauty is a standing structure. Beauty is stability.
I am not an architect. I am not an engineer. Don't ask me who I am.
If this house were alive, it would be wiser than anyone who ever lived inside it. It would listen to our dreams and secrets and laugh sympathetically. It would say, "You have it wrong. Don't build your life around passionate love or passionate dreams because those things are fires that die. Build your life on solid earth and appreciate the stability."
Don't ask me what I love. Don't ask me what I dream. I love things that are greater than people, and I dream dreams that nourish, rather than drain, the life in me.
But because it doesn't speak, I have taken it upon myself to learn the stories of those who lived here before me. I tried to piece stories together, from neighbors and acquaintances, and draw the lines back as far as possible. My success was limited. I only learned about two families.
One was a family of one, a lonely man who everyone liked but whom no one knew. He was pleasant and honest, but there was something empty about him. There had to be a story, but no one cared enough to ask. He just kind of went out and I took his place.
This story is not about me. This is story is not about him. But I wish I could have known him.
And then, before him, there was a family of five: A daughter, two sons, two parents. The children all left home and moved on. But the parents? They just disappeared one day and a "For Sale" sign showed up. Maybe there was a business opportunity somewhere else, or maybe the payments were too much, or maybe they found somewhere better.
Maybe they felt they just had to get away.
They all got away from this house and I may never know why. I've redone the garden and changed the sinks and replaced the lights, but I still get the haunting feeling that they all looked at this house, thought about their lives, and knew that they just had to go.