This house was made in 1853. My name is third on the deed.
In the world of things some objects appear to be just passing through while others are anchored and coated in patina. The soul of patina - yes it has a soul, just look at it. The soul of patina is the unspeakable remnant of someone else’s memory. Patina is evidence of what’s been well used, lost and found, caught up in a feud, drowned in flood, scorched by love and covered with one too many passes of roach spray.
Left behind in the basement of my new old house is a Hoosier cabinet. It has a clever little wind-up clock set in its cabinet door. I wind. It cranks. It goes. Each part of the two parts, the tick and the tock, has a different sound. Behind the door is a ledger book stuck to the shelf from the weight of its own inertia and time itself.
Paper absorbs all matter, all scents. So before I even picked up this book its ink, the leather, the cotton, the glue had already drifted up and is creeping around the inside of my nose. It’s filled with pencil scribblings of someone’s reckoning and the edges are all browned by grease and dirt from hands that touched everything a hand could touch. I find tucked inside a stamped ticket purchased to book passage from an old world to a new.
I took that cupboard apart and dragged the pieces up the steps into the kitchen. Thought it might be useful storage. I painted over all the clinging germs. It was a forensic cesspool of DNA. Turned the drawers upside down and tapped hard to shake loose the obvious dust and grit from the corners. I found the usual straight pin, penny, and red flat-head thumbtack lurking between the bottom and side of a drawer. I looked for the piece of lead broken off of a wooden No.2 pencil. I love pencils. The shorter they are – the more endearing.
More encounters with After Things to come...