The House on Eastman St

by April Sharp

The house I once lived in is no longer there. It is an empty field on a corner identified by a green and white sign that reads “Eastman St.” I find it strange to see nothingness in a space that visits my dreams, and by visits, I mean haunts and by haunts, I mean that whatever memories are stored in my hippocampus become distorted and morph into monsters. 

 

I still see the creaky four-bedroom house when I close my eyes. I see my room with its three windows and small bed. I see the bathroom where my cousin and I pretended to be Ariel rising from the sea, arching our bodies forward, letting a tide of tap water cascade over us. I see the back porch where my aunt brushed her blonde hair over her shoulder at summer barbeques and laughed while my uncle scowled and thundered at the kids to stop kicking the ball over the fence. I see the kitchen with its sloped floor and roach-infested walls. One summer, when I was nine years old, I ate ten corndogs in that kitchen as my sister watched in horror. After I finished the last one, I sat grinning, covered in ketchup and greasy corndog pride. I see the basement I believed to be haunted and refused to enter, even when triple-dog-dared, preferring to endure taunts of “chicken!” rather than face whatever lurked in the cobwebs and soot. 

 

The house that is no longer a house once stood next to a field we called “the lot.” My cousins and I used to dig in the ground because rumor had it the house that once stood there burned down and you could find dregs of life under the dirt and grass. Once I found glass that I knew was from a woman’s perfume bottle. Probably belonging to the woman that once lived there, who wore long, lacey white nightgowns and brushed her hair 100 times with a silver-handled brush. I bet she smelled like honeysuckle. We played kickball in that field. I sat in that field the day my sister found out she was pregnant and then a week later when she wasn’t anymore. And I am not sad the house is gone.

 

I am not sad because up the street from the place where my house once stood is a cemetery where my grandparents and aunt are now buried. I am not sad because in my dreams, I am back in that house with monsters I cannot name lurking in dark, soot-filled places. I am not sad because when I drive by the empty field, I see nothing but skeletons of the mulberry trees that left my fingers sticky and sweet. I drive by and do not pass the cemetery that houses the shell of my aunt with her long blonde hair because her hair was not blonde at the end, but brown and her smile drooped on one side, and when I think of her now, she is the smell of charcoal and summer, and she is the sound of children weeping over a fresh grave. Will children dig at the place where my house once stood and find shards of glass from the telescope I got when I was eight?

About the Author 

April Sharp is an English instructor at Felbry College School of Nursing, and a graduate of the North East Ohio Master of Fine Arts program. She often writes of her childhood growing up in Southeast Ohio. She now resides in Akron, Ohio. Her work has been featured in The Devil Strip, Rubber Top Review, and Appalachia Bare. When not writing she can be spotted stomping through the woods with her two dogs.