She held a stick in her hand and scraped away the thin layer of snow to expose the green grass below it. The lines and curves became letters before her name was stretched out upon the small patch of yard. She was just shy of ten or so. A sweet face and a curious nature. Luke began to ask if her parents were home. I looked around and spotted just to the right and at the foot of the front porch a shiny gold radiator.
“He used to have a line of a dozen or so radiators in the driveway” a plumber we’d met at the local hardware store mentioned to us when he found out which house we had purchased.
These words lingered as we walked past and up the stairs to knock on the front door. We were interrupted by this action as a woman pulled up to the curb. Her eyebrows narrowed and the stare was thick she stumbled out of her car with awkward motion as it was one of the first and few cold days this winter and her coat became an obstacle to fight. We quickly introduced ourselves before any ideas of “child kidnappers” could enter her thoughts. She smiled gently and warmly. Without hesitation she welcomed us into her home.
A man about 5′ 9″ and stocky with a black and silver beard entered the room to greet us. His hair was slick back and his eyes shifted from left to right. ”Mark”, he said his name was and we shook hands. He then ran his fingers through his hair and the weight of his body went from left to right to left to right. His eyes shifted again as he looked at the wall, the floor, the ceiling, briefly to me, to luke, to the wall, to the ceiling and over again, running his fingers through his hair. Evidence of our(their) home was strewn about the house. Another radiator and bits of pieces in plastic bags. He spoke of growing up in Nebraska and travelling, living abroad where he met his wife. Moving to Perry and beginning to restore the house and turn it into a bed & breakfast. The second child came and Mark became ill, no longer able to work on the house. Luke began by saying he hoped their wouldn’t be any hard feelings or issues, I stayed fairly quiet, as before we had gone in I felt quite uncomfortable about the whole thing. We were informed that this whole process of loosing their home had started two years ago. While at first they were quite upset they learned that it could be somewhat of a blessing in disguise. I wasn’t sure Mark believed what he was saying as he was still scheming of ways to get the house back through contractors and was surprised at how quickly it had sold once it was put on the market. He went on to offer to help if needed or if we had questions about his thought process. Luke mentioned if he had anything we would possibly be interested in, let us know. I quickly interjected “we’ll pay you for them”. This prompted no response from him aside from an exchange of phone numbers a few cordial words and then we were gone.
The bits and pieces that were once apart of this home still sit one house down wrapped in tarps as water seeps in and rots the trim and eats away at the bottoms of the doors. The metal will rust and the beautifully crafted objects will die along with his dreams of the “Red Brick House B&B.”