The Cautionary Tale of a House

       The creation of a home is no small task, for it serves to address a wide array of needs.  Perhaps it is the expectation that makes the work so complicated.  Perhaps such expectation should not exist.
       But, for her, it does.

       And when she first tripped up the stairs to her latest home, she felt the familiar cry of walls waiting to be adorned, and floors desiring to be furnished with furniture to cradle warm bodies; she felt the strong and overwhelming desire to help her little house offer love and warmth and strength and shelter to all who would pass through its emerald green door.  She would force it to yield its cozy comforts and turn it lovingly into a home.

       She walked through each room, and made plans in her mind: that one would need a new table, that room two quite different nightstands; plants must adorn this corner, a lamp across from that table to open the light.  And, of course, their were the books.
            Her books; the collection of the shaping of her thoughts, written friends.  They would fit nicely into her little home with scarcely an effort, and bring about its warmth.
            Candles, pillows, blankets, a place for guests to lay their heads.  Covered chairs, antique trays, and glasses to meet needs from whiskey to wine.  Food, naturally, to stock a pantry that would see to guests’ stomach’s, and a medicine cabinet filled with all possible tinctures and powders.  She could not forget, too, vases, for filling with branches or flowers or both as the seasons turned.
            Such desires seemed simple, their purpose sweet, each in their turn.  And as she made her lists and her purchases, the house blossomed before her eyes.  She craved the sight, and poured more and more into her home; an addiction, it seemed, she could not stop.  Until the house (and, it must be said, her coin purse), cried out in grave distress.
            She was blessed enough to heed it.
            And so, she sat with her house, and tried to be satisfied in it.  She went through each room, counting each’s good things.  She went through her day, readying it, caring for it, working in it, sparing no little attention.  Indeed, she could not spare it, for its groans gave her no rest.  It pricked and prodded deep into her; her very soul could feel it’s discomfort.
            Something was not right.
            But what could it be?
            What caused her feeling of unease?  What kept her house from being a home?
            She bought some more things, and spread them out, and she added here and there.  But of course, that brought no relief.  She wanted to fix it, to fix her house into a home.  There must be a thing, she thought, there must be one thing that would pull everything together, tie all into place.  She knew something was there, just beyond her reach—she could feel it on the edge of her, like the final piece of a puzzle.  A puzzle, she thought, would be easier.
            Still, try as she might, nothing came to her.  And she was fit to breaking with the torture of it.  Nothing she bought made it right—and so she stored all the uselessness that did nothing; she could not let it go, just in case.  After all, she might have missed something, and she had enough closets to stuff in a few more things.
            So obsessed did she become that it was only a whim that caused her in a pang of anguish to pick up a thing; a piece of floral décor, and throw it hard against the wall.  She crumbled down to the floor leaning against the wall, and wondering what could be wrong.
            After a time, she thought herself absurd, ridiculous, for caring so much for a room, the look of a corridor, the light of the bathroom.  For caring so much for a house.  She wiped her tears and looked up; and as she gazed upon the room, she knew there was something right about it.
            All at once, a compulsion came over her.  In a whirl, she went from room to room, taking away thing after thing; all that did not belong.  And when that was done, then came the corridors, and the closets, the cupboards, and the pantry even.  All that was too much for her little house to bear.
            It was a house that became a home.  She ran from room to room, thrilled by what she saw—a home that had peace and warmth and space to put one’s head.  It cradled and gave and allowed one to move.  It was a place to come home to, and a place to rest.  And she found herself begin to laugh and laugh in the joy of it.
            The joy remained, but sorrow came next.  A sadness for the wasted things—that which the home had never wanted and did not need.  She could feel the things, crying out for a place, a place that was not her home.  This was her penance; she would find their homes.
            And in her closet, now wide and free, she placed a piece of floral décor as a reminder.  It looked pretty in her closet, and though it was meant to be there.  With that, a final touch, she breathed.

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