We lived here, for a year. Come January 2015, we were scrubbing walls so hard the paint was flaking, tearing out forests of weeds, finding the thousand nooks and crannies that gather dust in a house full of crumbling memories as we tried to drag ourselves back out of it, back into the real world. They tried to sell it and failed. It lurched back onto the rental market and we settled into a new house a suburb away.

We lit a fire in the kitchen chimney once, and set the roof alight. The fire brigade flooded one of the bedrooms when they were putting it out. We turned on the central heating once, and clouds of burnt dust cascaded from the ceiling. We found a set of dentures buried in the garden. We found a thousand dollars hidden in the shed. We found dozens of bones, bits of cow and sheep. The hallway was badly painted to mimic marble. The carpet was worth a fortune. The rangehood above the stove was handmade, and coated on the inside in stringy wet strands of oil. The oven was in the laundry. There was a tower room upstairs that we called the maid’s quarters and imagined a woman lighting the gas lamp up there in the sky. There were too many lightbulbs. There weren’t enough power points. Most of the windows didn’t open. One of the rooms had wallpaper coming down in sheets, stained strangely brown. One of the rooms had terrible storm damage belching down the wall. The previous owner had gone a little mad when his wife died and had tried to kiss one of the mothers at the school opposite. He’d been taken to a home and was dead himself within months. Once, there had been horses tethered out the back. Once, there had been soirĂ©es there, back in the 1880s, when it was new. The mayor had come and made a speech. We had good parties, there. We all had lovers, there. We never did figure out how to work the bidet, so we put a plastic duck in it and left it there.

On the last day, Izzy and Jordan came over to help say goodbye.










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