Eric and I tried five takes before we could find someone to capture us at the Parthenon without the construction cranes in the background. Eventually, a kind stranger found a forgiving angle, resulting in the postcard photo here at my feet.
For some reason, my history with houses is similar, always under construction and always needing forgiveness. Boxes sit in the corners of basements or in small rooms labeled as offices. Pictures get moved from room to room until they find a mostly permanent home. But by that time, we’re moving on to someplace new.
At least, this is how it’s been since we left Burden St., Eric’s and my first home in Atlanta before we were married, the home we still inhabit like ghosts in some old love song.
We have lived in three other houses, two more like rental spaces that I was waiting to leave, and one that actually feels like a home, mostly. I even call our current home “the happy house,” but we stopped unpacking after about two months past the move-in date. And I mean stopped trying to find a place for each beloved photo and each nostalgic trinket. It’s like those moments you try to remake with someone new after your heart’s been badly broken, the ones that always fall short. Eventually, you just give up trying to bring back the magic.
The 100-year old house on Burden St. dripped with history. Beyond the porch swing and the door knocker made from a river stone, a standing brick fireplace welcomed you into the entrance/living room. I was sold on the place before looking past the foyer.
We unpacked organically, placing valued family memorabilia and favorite photographs onto ledges that seemed to be in wait for them.
The house had a breath and a heartbeat, and time almost stood still inside. Eric and I spent nights just taking in the air inside our private universe. I thought we might need to dig our feet out from the earth when we left.
They say home is where you put your hat and to bloom where you are planted. But “they” never lived on Burden St.