Open Workshop: Nov. 12

Every time she walked past that old house, the one on the corner of Division and Green, the one with the purple shutters that might sigh away the wood siding at any moment; every time, she thought of that scene in It’s A Wonderful Life, she thought about throwing a rock through the window, about making a wish.

Now it was a new association; the neural pathway highlighted the same route between old house and old movie, but added to the circuitry was the newly formed route between George Bailey and Mary Hatch’s love and her own burgeoning romance. She had spent so many Christmas Eve’s watching that movie — almost a lifetime’s worth — with that special mirrored neural pathway completely dark and now, here, in the middle of summer, staring at an abandoned house, she realized that she knew what it was like to be in love.

Now that scene in the movie, when George and Mary miss their honeymoon because of the stock market crash and Mary throws together a slipshod getaway in the Old Granville House, now that scene was more than just cute or thoughtful, now it was everything. It was sacrifice; it was the way that perspective shifts when love enters the equation. It was everything she had assumed she would never had and then it was everything she did have and now it was everything she almost couldn’t remember not having.

She wanted that house; she needed it. Suddenly, she knew, that without that house her impending marriage would fail. If she did not own that house, she would wake up and realize all of it — the love, the sacrifice, him — was a dream and there’d be no petals in her pocket when she woke up.


He wasn’t sure what to do with his father’s house. He’d been trying to decide all week, though his decision making tactic involved not thinking about it at all and waiting for the answer to pop into his head. His wife wanted him to keep it.

“You grew up there. It was a home at one time; it could be a home again; it could be our home.” She liked to read sentiment into him where there wasn’t any.

“You would move there? Seriously? The house is a fucking mess. It’s barely even standing at this point. If people didn’t still call it Mr. Walker’s Place On The Corner, it would have been condemned by now.”

“Come on, its not that bad. We could fix it up. Your dad never wanted to sell it.” She was referring to his father’s will, if you could call it that, a confusing hand written document he revised the week before his death in a foggy stupor of Alzheimer’s confusion. Technically he had left the house to his eldest daughter, who had died tragically 25 years ago.

“It is that bad. I didn’t tell you half of it. When we moved him out two years ago, god, I don’t even want to think about it.”

“Okay, fine then. Just sell it. Add the money to the estate. You’re brother won’t mind.” She knew this was what he wanted to do, what he wished he could do, but if it was what he was actually going to do, what he was actually capable of doing, he would’ve already done it.


Prompt: An old, abandoned house as seen by someone who just got engaged.

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