This is the house, she says.

October 31st, 2013, 10am

When we move in we’ll hang a bench on the patio and when it rains I’ll complain about not being able to see the stars, and one Sunday when I’m back from my parents’ I’ll find you on a ladder with sky on your face and town on your chin and a light bulb and a smirk and you’ll say, Now we can turn them on whenever we want.

We’ll change the outside color every year. No colonial pastels, nothing for propriety. Never for propriety. It’ll be chartreuse when our daughter is born and we’ll plant four trees in the back and she’ll sit under the saplings in her sunbonnet. She’ll look up and try to grasp the leaves and she’ll move home for a month after her engagement is off when the house is daisy yellow and cry underneath the leaves and think, I remember them being so much closer.

She’ll find a better one. The house will be tangerine after her wedding and I’ll have trouble getting up the steps and you’ll try to help but I won’t let you, but I’ll wish you did anyway.

It’ll be mulberry and my hands will hurt too much and you’ll refuse to paint it anymore because we always did it together. It’ll be mulberry when you retouch the stars and it’ll be mulberry when I no longer have the strength to leave the den and it’ll be mulberry when they plant me. It’ll be mulberry when our daughter and son-in-law come to help pack up all the things because it’s too much for you to stay. You’ll repaint it one last time, the three of you, and when you’re done you’ll put on the stars and tell them.

Then one autumn after you’ve sold the house, a man who is passing through on his way to North Carolina will stop in town for breakfast and turn the corner onto our street. He’ll spot a bright teal jewel down the block and come for a closer look. He’ll notice four tall trees with leaves that run the spectrum and he’ll go around to the front and he’ll see. He’ll remember. He’ll buy Concord grapes and an old book of Jack London stories and when he drives away in his rental car, he’ll know, just like the others.

They’ll all know, she says.

And when she says all this, she’s wearing those eyes of hers that by their glare alone can will the universe into being, so you believe her.

Geoffrey, Eliza, Nara, Kalli and 18 others said thanks.

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Jack Cheng

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