18 October 2010 3,798 views One Comment
Part One: The House By Anna Trent Moore We called it Benson’s house. It belonged to her. The house even looked a bit like Benson… older, leaner, and indifferent to the other houses nearby. One had a sense that it wasn’t interested in conversation or even small talk. Defying all others, the house stood alone, boldly positioning itself, an old sea house perched high on the cliff overlooking the big blue of the Pacific Ocean. The eyes of the house were its large, open windows that stared out toward the Pacific from its lofty perch. The paint was peeling, and the leaning shutters squeaked as the wind blew. Still, there was a quiet dignity about this house that stood proud. It was like an old soul that had lived many lives… just like Benson. I wondered, if it could talk, what stories it could tell. For a long time it lay empty… an abandoned shell. I passed by the house many times as I walked to my surf spot, and no one had lived between its walls at any time that I could remember. I felt with certainty that this house had been loved at one time. Empty now, it reminded me of a broken heart waiting to be loved again; oblivious to time, suspended, in wait for the right moment to resume rhythm… like a clock that needs rewinding so as to begin ticking once again. And then, one day she appeared; a car in the driveway and a little person digging in the front yard. And just like that, a rhythm began and the house came back to life. It was a long while before words were even exchanged. I didn’t know how to approach such an odd little person, and besides, never making eye contact, it was difficult to begin with even hello. Bent down to the ground busy at work, she seemed forever intent on wanting no part of anything or anyone that existed outside the perimeter of the house. In time, it was revealed that she intended to plant a garden of sorts right smack dab in the front yard. Soon, sunflowers and a vegetable garden blossomed. One day, while walking by with my surfboard tucked under my arm, I glanced over and spied a bright orange glow under some leaves, and to my surprise, I saw a tiny pumpkin. Soon, it grew larger, and the warmth of orange filled the place with a magic. Really, that pumpkin was a splendid sight. This house of Bensons with the orange pumpkin by the sea…it filled your heart with joy just to look at it. The next day, glancing over to see it again, I smiled when I saw that she had placed it on a rickety, wooden kitchen chair; positioning it so as to look out to sea. Nestled next to the house was the winding wooden stairs that led down to the beach. Faithfully, making the trek down the winding steps every evening, I would surf my spot. We called it Wilmar, after the street that led to it. And appropriate too because it’s a woman’s name. The street, Benson, Trina (my surfing buddy), myself, and even the house were all women. The only male thing was Benson’s dog, Wiley. A brute looking mutt with the demeanor of a puppy, his name was Wiley… Wiley Coyote. And oh how she loved to scold that boy dog! A loud voice booming from a thin, wiry body yelling out, “Wiley! Wileeeee! Where are you, you bad puppy!” That voice, filled with pretend anger, never left you with any doubt that she loved that Wiley Coyote more than anything. Of course, there were other males that would pass through our Wilmar domain, but that was all that they were really doing: passing through. We, on the other hand, felt a kinship to Wilmar. It was as if we owned the spot. The quality of waves were…well, left to be desired. Still, it was our spot and therefore we felt that in a way, it belonged to us. We even called it our beach. And so it began this way on a crisp fall day in October that a street called Wilmar became a separate world unto itself; sustained by the pulse of an old house that was brought to life by a strange little person who called herself by one name. These are the stories of her people. They say that nothing lasts forever, and if something ever did, I wanted to believe it was this…Benson and her house with the pumpkin by the sea. A picture of time permanently transposed against the blanket of blue.