House in the cornfields.



2 thoughts on “House in the cornfields.

  1. I hated coming back here, but something about the place always drew me back. No matter how far I’d run or long I’d run for, I’d always feel something pulling me to this place. Home is, after all, home. It’s where the things happened that made you: happy things, sad things, good, and evil – some things more than others. You can try to change and try to grow away, but a piece of you is always anchored there by time and blood. My own anchor hooked me to this old house, now a barely standing pile of wood planks, swallowed by a sea of gnarled and overgrown corn.

    I remembered visiting this place during the summers of my childhood. It was my father’s house, and his grandfather’s before him. My mother talked about it going to me when I turned eighteen, and I hated that. Even back then it barely resembled a house, but it was where my father was, and even though my mother and father no longer lived together, she always brought me around because, as everyone who knew about our situation said, “A boy needs a father figure.” Most days he’d just stand out in the corn, tending to his field that was foundering even then. My mother and father weren’t on speaking terms, per se. Some nights, up in my second floor bedroom, I’d be woken a bitter, acrid smell. I’d watch my mother through the rotted holes in the awning above the porch, her inhaling something from a small tube. The smoke leaking from her head like a brazier and wafted up towards me. It was during these nights she’d talk and he’d come out of the cornfield. She would try to speak to him but I don’t think he ever said anything back. It was when he did speak that upset me the most. In the dark of night, long after my mother would come back inside and collapse on the carpet, my father would come into my room, kneel beside by head, and whisper dark secrets to me.

    I hated so much of my home. I hated how cold it was even the height of summer, how the fallen paint chips snapped under my feet, how wood splinters would cut into my soles, and how it always looked as thought it would storm but never did. It rained only once, when I tried to burn it down, and then I hated the rain too. Most of all I hated that no one believed that my father spoke to me, or that he spoke at all. A drunk driving accident just before I was born tore his throat out and tore a lot of other things out too; it’s a small mercy that the only victim in that was the drunk. He wasn’t buried here so much as he rotted away, embedded as he was in his car, embedded as the car was in the house. Not that it kept him from walking his fields, visiting my mother when she smoked, or hissing as I slept in that bitter mist.

    I grew up, but I did not grow out. I was trapped, like a sprouting kernel in roots of old, bitter stalks. I avoided home whenever I could, sometimes taking three or four detours even though cutting through the country road that passed the cornfield was faster. I got better at avoiding the rotten house in the rotten field, but always felt the pull. On the hottest nights I would drive aimlessly in my car just to be in the air conditioner. If I let my windows down I would hear faintly my father’s whispers and long for the unearthly chill in the house would bring me back. Some nights I would even walk into the house, just to get out of the heat. Some nights I would see a shadow standing high in the field, and after my mother died, there would be two. Some nights I would sit on the porch where my mother sat, pull my mother’s pipe from my pocket and make the smoke that brought my family to me.

    Now, so many years later, I wander my home still. The hate is gone, because this is my home. Three shadows stalk the fields at night, now. Home is, after all, where the heart is – and for me, it is where everything else is too.

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