The fence was falling apart. Wooden pieces loose. Splinters. It was never primed nor painted. Just wood nailed together. Gate was coming off the hinges.

Overgrown bushes in front hid the old house. Bushes as tall as the first floor window. You could almost call them trees.

Brown ivy covered the home. Over the years it’d died on the orange brick. It stopped turning green in the spring time. It had a charm of winter’s death. Shingles hanging on by a screw.

When the old man bought it years ago it wasn’t in bad shape. An older house, built in the late 1800’s. The basement had a dirt floor and cut down trees holding up the ceiling. They were strategically placed.

He never did marry nor seek a great fortune. A teacher of history at the high school. Never showed up at events with a date. Everyone in town thought he was strange. Long beard, long gray hair, an arm that was covered in tattoos from over seas; a green outlined mermaid from his elbow up. Wore shortsleeves in winter time. Took baths at midnight. Read Miller, Conrad, Camus, Sartre and Mellville. But, he never sought his great whale.

And, he let things slip. Or, he never cared to begin with. Lived in that house for forty years. Wanted to sell it one day. Had ideas of buying a ticket to Mexico and never return. Sleep on the beach. Eat tacos and drink tequilla. Seek comfort in a Mexican whore house. Then just move on to the next life; the other side. Maybe he always wanted to be on the other side. Maybe.

The house was falling apart. It was the perfect time to leave. But, he never got that chance. They found him in his bath with a copy of Tropic Of Capricorn at the bottom of the tub. The water was red. His eyes stared up at God.

Like his soul, the house was restored.

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