Again I’m called back to the house in my sleep.  But I’m outside and the house is still red with white shutters.  It’s been painted the ugliest burnt sage for years now, even longer than years, decades.  We’ve been gone for decades.

And I wonder if we haunt that house even though we’re each of us still living, if some bits of our ether were left behind on the walls in invisible strands, burned in with the living of us.

Did our feet scorch the underside of the linoleum floor?  Is there DNA linking us to the first place we call home?

Outside the too red to be true house, I stand on the same concrete sidewalk I spilled vegetable soup on the day Ma came to kindergarten with carrots and celery.  I carried the cup down the hill, across Ruger Avenue at the cross walk, and through the neighbors’ lawn.  It was Ma’s soup, a taste for helping.  It smelled yummy enough to attract a sweat bee, small and precise, bee enough to make me wiggle.  Down went the cup and off tipped the lid.  Ma heard me outside, horrified I’d lost her soup.  A fit full of tears and snot.

She found a spoon, reclaimed what broth and carrots she could and warmed it in the microwave.  It was delicious, she said.  See?  The soup wasn’t lost after all.

In this dream, the street was more bare and silent then even the still life of weekday afternoons.  This was Twilight Zone still where I walked through time knocking on the neighbors’ door.  Mary and Bill retired and moved north to a cabin, but this dream day they were home.

It’s me, I said, but didn’t go in, didn’t see past Mary’s regular round face so close to mine as it had always been; I was young when I’d overgrown her.  I told her I wanted to see our house, could she please talk to the neighbors, she surely knew them well as she’d known us.

No, she said, no, just go over and knock.

As in dreams when you just appear in the place you need to be, in that instant, I was inside the open garage standing at the door.  Dad’s boat was gone, replaced with a collector car in nice condition.  I knocked.  A man answered, I could see on his face a concern that I was in the garage instead of at the front, too familiar already.  I used to live here, I said, my dad built the house, could I come in and see it?

Of course, he said, anytime.  He held the door wide.  I looked past him into the kitchen.  The dining room.  I looked and saw new colors, things moved and rearranged.  It wouldn’t work, I thought, it wouldn’t work to bring the memories back.  Thank you, I said.  Even in my dream, I couldn’t walk through that door.

I’m wondering now, what will it take and how far should we go to tell the true story?


About E. Victoria Flynn

E. Victoria Flynn is a mother and a writer living in Southern Wisconsin. Published in a variety of venues, Victoria is currently writing the first in a series of three fantasy novels based on Cornish folklore. When not taking part in a shrieking dance party or engrossed in her own little fictions, Victoria is keen on art, the natural world and people unafraid to explore their own brilliance.
This entry was posted in divorce, ma, memoir writing, memory, Project Placement, red house and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to Somnambulant

  1. This alone is beautiful, “…I wonder if we haunt that house even though we’re each of us still living, if some bits of our ether were left behind…,” but the whole piece brought me to tears.

    That’s some amazing writing, my friend.

  2. 2kop says:

    “how far should we go to tell the true story?”

    As far as the road takes you. But you don’t have to go alone. You have friends to hold your hand and the brightness of your current future to light your path.

  3. Lisa says:

    I agree with Susan – you have witnesses now that you didn’t have then – your friends. Wonderful bit, here.

  4. pennyjars says:

    Thanks, Lisa. Here’s to the friends we meet when we don’t expect it. Cheers!

  5. Beth Lowe says:

    This. “…burned in with the living of us. Did our feet scorch the underside of the linoleum floor?” Oh my. That takes my breath away. And the soup made me cry. Your mining of your own memories and emotions evoke powerful responses in your readers. That is a gift. That is being a writer. Yes, tell the true story as far as you need to, want to. We’re with you.

  6. kario says:

    Gorgeous, gorgeous writing! And as someone who is consumed with and by writing, I’m not sure you have a choice about how far to go. I think the writing will take you where it takes you. And I can’t wait to read it.

  7. Love this, love your writing. It has great rhythm, to me; it really puts me in a trance. Totally smooth. Thanks for letting us read.

  8. mandeesears says:

    WOW! I am at a loss for words (if you can believe that). LOL Absolutely beautiful and moving, with tears in my eyes…

  9. pennyjars says:

    Mandee, thank you so much. It always feels good when the words find their place.

  10. e6n1 says:

    Lovely passage, very evocative

  11. pennyjars says:

    Thanks for stopping, reading and commenting!

  12. Sunny says:

    You have such talent…I aspire to be at least half as good someday. This is really, really graceful writing. Bravo!

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