Thursday, April 27, 2006

A drive through the country

Charming houses with elegant gardens sit on either side of the winding road, a measured patch of lush green between each of them. A glance is enough to tell you that they have been put together with much care: colors, furniture, trees, even the pots of flowers by the elegant wicker chairs on the front porch chosen painstakingly so that the first impression is of harmony. You can almost picture their merry Thanksgiving dinners, arguments about summer retreats, and handmade cards from grandchildren displayed on refrigerators.

And then down the same road you see a broken-down house. Chipped paint makes the walls look sickly, its roof seem to be jutting forward, and the door like an invitation to darkness. But what ruffles you is the futile effort made to patch up :a washed out bedspread covering a tattered sofa: a reluctant plant on a crooked bar stool. If your eyes can pierce through the darkness seething out of the windows maybe you can see its people, hunched over, silently mending their life. Perhaps when they step out into the world, they walk with their shoulders jutting forward to protect where it hurts the most, just like their home.