I like to think my house is haunted sometimes. When I moved in, my landlady told me that she had purchased it for her father when he was sick. She wanted to keep an eye on him from next door. She then told me that he died while in the house, merely months after she had bought it. I imagine the constant state of worry she must have been in, having her dying father next door. I imagine her long nights after the kids had gone to sleep, her husband snoring at her side, laying awake, glancing at the pale gray ceiling, wondering if he's still alive. He was only steps away, yet light years in the middle of the night. It seemed almost easier to know that someone could be gone at any point from across the country, there's nothing you can do. I imagine her checking on him carefully and periodically throughout the day, eating dinner with him in the evening. But there was nothing to do at night, except to gesture the children to their rooms, clean up the dishes, and perhaps stop by for a quick goodnight before begging for a good nights sleep yourself.
Shortly after I moved in, I noticed her husband was home less and less. I noticed the kids being picked up and gone for nights at a time. Sometimes, with my window open, I could hear her from the kitchen window, talking about sleeping on the couch, difficulties. She called me a month later and politely asked me to begin making my rent checks out in her name only. I wonder sometimes if it was the hardship of her fathers death, the perseverance she exhibited to take care of him, that damaged their marriage. I wonder if the guilt, anger and sadness haunts this house.
I wonder if the hope, love and determination looms here also. If its the rattling noise my heater makes after I turn off all of the lights.