Short Story By:
Many thanks to Ms. Radi
She got out of the car and stood in
front of the house for a while.
The red brick pathway to the dark blue entrance door was
surrounded by purple and white-blossomed flowers.
She started walking toward the house, took a glance at
the big "Open House" sign, held in a sigh, and knocked on
the door. A
shrieking voice from inside the house invited her to enter.
She pushed on the door and it opened with a high-pitched
squeaky noise. She
paused for a moment in the doorframe and looked inside.
The shiny wooden floor caught her eyes and the smell of
burnt coffee filled up her nostrils.
A little head, with curly brown hair, ending to a wide
smile and a large chin popped from behind the wall and said:
"Hi," she replied.
"Come on in, please," the woman in brown business suit said.††
"I saw the open house sign, I thought, Ö" she mumbled.
realtor did not let her finish her sentence.
"This is such a beautiful house.
Iím glad you came in.
Youíll love it" Then ran to the table in the corner
of the family room and while picking up a cup, she said: "Care
for a cup of coffee?"
"No thank you," she said.
woman in the suit handed her a beige business card and with her
wide plastic smile extended her right hand and said, "Iím
took the card, shook the womanís hand and forced herself to
smile. She opened her mouth to say her name but she choked.
Rosie took a glance at her and raised her left eyebrow in
surprise and said, "Well, I was showing the house to Derrick
and Elizabeth. Call
me if you have any question," and left.
stood in the middle of the room with Rosieís card in one hand,
the band of her purse tight in her other hand, and with tears
rounded up in her throat ready to suffocate her.
She was afraid to move.
She was afraid she might see him standing there in the
corner of the room, smiling as usual, his big red hammer in his
hand, and a can of beer next to his boot on the floor.
She breathed deeply and gathered all her force in her
right leg and started moving, at first slowly, then with more
ease. She turned
around and saw the fireplace.
Right where it always used to be, in the middle of the
left wall, with that big white mantle he had made himself, his
pride and joy, seventy two pieces of decorated wood to be exact,
and the bright silver fancy door that opened to a little burning
hole made out of red bricks.
The previous owners, she thought, had taken good care of
it. She got closer
to the fireplace, put her fingers on the mantle and dusted off
the top. She felt a
fiery sensation in the tips of her fingers, as if fire was
blazing inside the fireplace, burning everything getting close
to it. A terrifying
feeling came over her that forced her to suddenly jerk away from
it and walk toward the hallway to the bedrooms.
She opened the first door to her left.
There was the guest bathroom all in blue tiles with white
molding, at the top and the bottom.
There was the little round white stylish and
old-fashioned sink she picked out herself.
She stepped inside and stood in front of the mirror.
She looked at herself, at her big brown eyes and
recognized that familiar sadness that had been with her for the
last two years, always in the mirror and in all the mirrors she
have looked into. She
looked down at the sink and at the silver-plated soap dish,
silvery toothbrush holder and silver towel rack.
She rose up her head and saw him in the mirror standing
right behind her.
put his arms around her waist and gave a big heavy burp next to
her ear, "Iím telling you I donít like this sink.
Sure itís nice but I donít like it.
Itís too small."
turned around while sucking in the strong smell of Budweiser and
Marlboro, "Youíre just being a baby.
First of all neither of us are going to use this
"I donít give a
fuck if itís chic or not.
I donít like it."
took hold of his love handles and started cuddling him.
He smiled a little bit, pulled his head back, and looked
straight into her eyes, "I guess itís ok."
"See, honey," she
said, "itís round and you know, nature is round.
You canít find anything in nature with sharp edges.
This way we get closer to mother nature."
He let go of her, gave out another huge burp and said:
"Fuck mother nature. Whatís for dinner?"
threw the towel at him. "Nothing."
She could hear him laughing loud from the garage, saying nothing
is good; nothing is very good.
"After the dot-com crash, these people decided to go
back to India, so thatís why theyíre selling the house."
Rosie was talking to Derrick and Elizabeth while passing through
the hallway and forcing a smile at her.
"So they did all of this remodeling themselves!"
She could hear Rosie
answering from the master bedroom. "Oh, no!" She
almost screamed. "They
didnít do it. The couple before them did all this."
cold, dry voice came through the wall.
Nobody died. A
young couple bought this house and turned it into what you see
right now. Neighbors
say a few bachelors rented this house before them and trashed it
so bad that nothing was recognizable.
You canít just blame the guys.
After all, this is a thirty two year old house."
"WOW, it looks
brand new to me," Elizabeth claimed excitedly.
"Iím telling you,
those two did a great job.
The guy did almost everything himself."
Rosie said, "I think."
"So, what was the
asked, in his dry tone of voice, suspicious.
"Why did they sell it to the Indian guy?"
was probably some good reason for them to sell it," Elizabeth
probably needed the money."
"I just want to
make sure nobody had died here," Derrick said.
"I promise you
nobody died in this house," Rosie said agitated.
"They got divorced.
At least thatís what the neighbors say."
She stepped out of
the bathroom and while turning into the first room to her right,
she took a fast curious glance at Derrick.
His short and heavy mass of body was standing in the
middle of the master bedroom, fingers clinched into each other
on his back, legs wide apart, moving the tip of his small nose
frantically as if he was trying to sniff the smell of a dead
body in the room. She
could hear Elizabeth and Rosie breathlessly discussing the
double sinks of the master bathroom.
She settled in the middle of the empty room, paused for a
short while and then slowly started turning in a circle to her
left, gazing at gray walls.
Her pride and joy. Her Pentium III Gateway computer on a Scandinavian design
contemporary desk. Her
black Remington 5 typewriter she had bought from an antique
shop, on the other end of the desk.
Her very own scanner and her HP laser-jet 1100 printer.
Her books rested next to each other on the shelves.
Things Fall Apart. Gordimer.
Blind Owl. Chomsky.
Writerís Workshop. Morrison. The
Setting Sun. Being
and Nothingness. Rushdie.
Photoshop 4 for Windows.
Art of the Tale. Woolf. Her place. Her
study, a haven. Hers.
Ö A room of her own.
Rosie and Elizabeth
passed the room in a rush toward the front door and disappeared
to the front yard. Derrick
went after them with his eyebrows tangled, ignoring her.
She followed their steps, avoiding the master bedroom.
From the corner of her eye, she saw herself on the bed,
wrapped in a white sheet laughing hard at his nude muscular
body, childishly jumping up and down in front of her singing in
his awful voice.
She passed the fireplace room and stepped into the
kitchen. She could
hear him crawling through the crawl space, banging on the pipes,
pulling the cords, and swearing at all the creatures, their
mothers as well as their sisters and their whole family, looking
for his flash light, not finding it and swearing again and again
and again. She
stood in front of the KitchenAid refrigerator, tempted to open
its door and empty all the beer cans into the sink.
The thought of it gave her a rush.
Her heart started pumping fast, causing her chest to move
up and down rapidly. All of a sudden she heard Rosie from behind.
"Maíam, are you ok?"
"Oh, yes," turning around, she said desperately.
"For a moment I thought you had problem breathing."
"Iím fine," she paused. "Really. Iím fine."
Great," Rosie said and grasped a folder from the top of
the counter, and stepped back toward the front door, "I think
we have a winner."
"I want the house," she yelled almost at the top of
her lungs. Then
suddenly she regretted what she had just said.
half way through the door, turned around and with wide-open eyes
and a chin that looked much larger than it was a few seconds
ago, said, "Beg your pardon?"
stood there in the middle of the kitchen, behind the tiled
counter, her knees touching the cold of the maple cabinets,
uncertain what to answer. Rosie, not knowing what to do, paused for a few seconds and
hesitantly asked, "Would you like to have a cup of coffee?
It seems you need one."
"No," she said.
swallowed her own saliva and tried to clear her throat with an
exaggerated dry cough. "I said I want the house.
Iíll buy it."
"Yes," she said firmly.
"Well, this is so
sudden. I wonder if
you always decide fast like this," Rosie burst into a laugh.
She also tried to laugh in return.
"Iíll give this to Derrick and be back soon," Rosie
said, pointing at the folder she had in hand.
She was left alone
again. She saw all
their friends dancing to an upbeat music, having the best time.
Christopher, giving her a big hug, kissed her on her
lips, "This is a really good party, sweetie, and I think Iím
falling in love with your husband."
donít if you want to keep your head on your shoulders."
heard him say, "Are you sure this Chris guyís a fag?
Otherwise, Iím not gonna have any man kiss my wife on
She was standing in
the middle of the dance floor when she realized she was singing
a tune that he had loved. She
stopped for a moment and listened.
Noises were coming from the front yard.
She could recognize Rosieís shrieking voice inviting a
man to see the inside of the house, someone who did not sound
like Derrick, someone who was making some kind of joke and was
laughing out loud. Rosie
started laughing so hard that she could imagine her needing to
use the restroom. She
took a few steps toward the door and just gazed at it, expecting
Rosie to come in.
hand pushed on the door and it opened with a high-pitched
squeaky noise. The
shiny wooden floor reflected the light into her eyes and the
soft spring breeze pushed the smell of coffee up her nostrils.
Rosieís little head, with curly brown hair, ending in a
wide smile and her large chin popped from behind the door.
He was standing there, behind Rosie, in the doorframe,
gazing at her in silence.
Shirindokht Radi 2001