Thursday, September 11, 2008


I had a dream
That I could fly from the highest swing.
I had a dream.

--Priscilla Ahn, Dream

It is a ramshackle house. An abandoned house.

This disappointed house.

My old bedroom window is blinded by vines. A creeping sort of killer. You don’t notice the slow strangulation until it’s already scaled the neck. And begun to squeeze.

Were my curtains yellow or pink? I don’t know. It’s been sixty years.

But I do remember the steam of my breath upon the icy windowpane. The secrets I penned within that fog. Rubbing out the pretty words before anyone could see.

Do houses have dreams?

I think so.

Does this one?

Not anymore.


Charles Gramlich said...

I like to think that the house did it's work and has retired. It's just resting, dreaming of earlier days, of words in the foggy glass.

Aine said...

That house is in serious need of some love! Makes me wonder about the seeds of neglect. Did the care takers abandon it when it no longer met their needs? Or was it because they could no longer meet its needs?

Reminds me of a certain cottage in the mountains...

Anonymous said...

So many story ideas jump in my mind when I see abandoned, run-down houses. This one is very good. You tell a cool story in a tiny amount of words.


Sarah Hina said...

Charles, I appreciate your brighter vision. It does look like it's resting to me today. A job well done. :)

Aine, I like how you think. :) I thought it was the former scenario, but you may be onto something. A house has needs, too.

That cottage in the woods suddenly seems a friendlier place to me. If still haunted.

Paul, I stole the phrase, "the disappointed house" from LM Montgomery, my favorite children's author. Emily, one of her heroines, is obsessed with an abandoned, run-down house, and dreams of fixing it up when she gets older. Of course, she does. :)

Thanks for the kind words!

Anonymous said...

I think this was especially gut wrenching.

Despite the utter irrationality of it, I do imagine houses having emotions and some level of awareness.

I ache for both of them here. The woman and the house. I ache for the past slipping through fingers. Threatening to erase any sure path to the future.

Sarah Hina said...

Jason, that path can be concealed by vines, too. I think it takes a certain level of doggedness to not be overrun.

Dreams, and houses, never just die. They have to be knowingly abandoned. I think the fact that the woman returned to the house says something about what she still hopes to find. Where she goes next should reveal even more.

Vesper said...

a disappointed house...

But the dreams of houses are the dreams of people living in them. All they need is somebody to love them and take care of them.

Poignant words, Sarah, and a splendid photo.

Sarah said...

Simply wonderful. Old abandoned houses,barns or whatever have always been my favorite. They have such history and stories and I would be happy sitting there listening.


Sheri said...

I think this one still dreams. Even if it is all used up and no longer loved, even it still has dreams...

Sarah Hina said...

Vesper, I know. There is a dependency between houses and their owners. This one's been left behind.

Sarah, me too. And I'm glad to see you again! :)

Sheri, I like to think so, too. Even if its dreams are all for the past.

ChrisEldin said...

I visited a house like that once--pulled off the road and took a look around. It was such a shame to see the neglect. The inside had the most beautiful hardwoods...
So much intricate detail thoughout. It was once loved.

Bernita said...

I know that house by its architecture of memory.