Libby walked through the house oblivious to the chattering agent behind her. “This house was built in 1900, it’s over a hundred years old.” The real estate agent Ann Parks boosted with a false smile.
“Umhum…” Libby responded. She couldn’t help but wonder about the family.
Were they happy here? Could she be happy if the previous family hadn’t? She thought she would be able to feel the bad vibes if it were an unhappy home but she wasn’t sure. She gave an inter-chuckle, she’d done nothing but feel bad vibes for the last five years what made her think she could tell the difference anymore.
Libby knew when she found a place that made her happy she could move on and live her life again. She’d stayed in the dark so long she forgot what it was like to live in the sun. She knew if she could just get out of her apartment and into a house she could start over.
When she opened the coat closet door she saw writing and marks along the inside doorframe. The closet had been painted over and over but these markings remained. The ink faded but still legible. The white paint behind the ink so old it had grayed.
Libby smiled as she read the top marking that reached over her head. ‘Philip age 18, March 1, 1920.’ “Wow,” She whispered. Her eyes followed the marks down to the first marking closest to the floor, ‘Philip age 1, March 1, 1902’. The writing so faded she could hardly make out the words.
“You can take out this closet and expand the office behind it if you prefer.” Ann said. “Or expand the closet and make the office smaller,” she amended at the look on Libby’s face.
Libby ignored the suggestion and walked further into the house scanning the beautiful hardwood floors and tall arched ceilings. She entered what must have been a formal living room at some point but now stood empty. She wanted to know if this house had once been filled with a thriving family and lots of rambunctious children.
An old oval pictured hung on a cord suspended from molding that framed the ceiling. The photo had bubbled glossy glass as if the photo had been painted on the inside. It was of a baby in a Christening gown, the gown looked yellow from aging but Libby knew that was a result of the age of the photo not the gown. The baby didn’t smile but the expression was so serene.
She let her eyes travel the room but stopped at the tall windows opposite the photo. The age of the windows was obvious from the dimpled single pane glass. She looked out at the front yard then at the Victorian across the street. This was the only remaining historical district left in Harborview that hadn’t been zoned for businesses.
“Did you know this is the only house in the district that has only had one owner?” Annie said smugly.
Libby jerked her head around to look at her. “That’s impossible.” Libby said.
“No, it’s true. The original owner’s have passed but their son still owns the place. He’s being placed in a retirement home now that his wife has passed.”
“That’s so sad. Doesn’t he have children to pass the house to?”
“I’m not sure.”
Libby raised an eyebrow and walked away to explore more of the old house. The thought of what Ann had just told her made her sick to her stomach. How could the family let go of this house? How could they have so little interest in their family history? She stepped into the kitchen and marvel at the size. She looked around and wondered what kind of treats had been baked in the bright airy room. She stepped further in and reached for the handle of the pantry when she heard a slow steady creaking coming from the open back door.
© Dayner’s non-blog, 2009