I need a new house. The stairs (too many, too steep) and other reasons. The trouble is I love the house. The trouble is I think she is human and loves me too. I feel as though I’m about to trade in a good and faithful wife for a new model. I feel like a complete bastard.
The new one must be pleasing to the eye, undemanding and low maintenance. I will look at photographs of her, study her dimensions and assess her character. I don’t want one who has let herself go.
My old house is shabby but good. Her skin is cracked and wrinkled. The wooden frames around her windows are rotten. She has chimneys and fireplaces you can burn coal and wood in. I have caught her on a windy day singing to herself. She has many virtues but is modest. I complain about her: she is too tall, too thin and I can’t fit more than a handful of people in her rooms, though the kitchen once gathered ten of us around a table at Christmas. She sometimes achieves the impossible.
When I am alone with her she folds herself around me. I can hear her heart beating. She is close friend to my cat who loves her unquestioningly and would be happy to remain within her sanctuary for the rest of her days. She is the only house I have lived in for so many years. She is the most home I have ever had. She waits for me when I am out.
When I sell her she will wait. She is patient. New people will come and strip her, give her a facelift, pull out the old appliances, but she will think that at any moment I am coming back, bringing the cat with me. When I don’t she will be confused. She won’t know herself. Her heart will start beating to a different rhythm. One day I will go back and look at her and she will no longer know who I am. It may be that I look at her and wish myself back with her, but it will be too late because she won’t be mine.
On the other hand, perhaps she’s cool about the idea. It’s just me losing the plot.