impractically perfect

Prompt: Learning to describe physical spaces is imperative in creating a story and giving characters a place to interact with. Physically describe your dream home or office or a space that has left a deep impact on your soul, in a way that makes the reader feel it, rather than see it. Show us, don’t tell us.

It was smaller than the others we saw that day. Part of the front porch was dilapidated and sagging — floorboards ready to betray a careless step. Vines crawled up the front of the house, swallowing it whole with a wild and hungry appetite.

David was growing impatient with the realtor for even bringing us here. I could see him computing numbers behind shelter of furrowed brow — how much it would cost to repair the porch, the rusted-over wrought iron gate, the window there at the top of the house wearing a crack in the glass like a taunting smile.

Our realtor, Janet, is saying things like “a historical gem” and “a real steal” and “not too much of a fixer upper if you’d just step inside to see” and “it’s like nothing you’ve ever seen!” This last sentiment has me nudging David before he can audibly scoff at her sing-songy sales pitch.

Silence is heavy as she watches me watch him. “Well let’s take a look!” I say eagerly. David’s head jerks my way in disbelief. I grin to myself.

Janet’s lipsticked smile grins too. “Oh I just know you’ll see the potential! Come, come let’s waste no time!” She scurries up the flagstone walk that is overgrown with weeds and neglect. Her vibrant pantsuit seems to offend the frail and faded house as the door lets out a deep and torturous creak upon entrance.

We are now standing in the threshold of our next great contention — the place is a beautiful little mess.

Going through the list of what we wanted — this place meets almost none, except for “charm.” The once grandeur crown molding is crumbling. But the foundation is strong. The kitchen looks as if it has been looted — stripped of all its worth. But the staircase boasts a landing with a floor to ceiling stained glass window.

My eyes pour over it in awe and David reminds me that stained glass wasn’t on our priorities list. We both smile at each other because we know what the other is thinking: how perfectly impractical.

It all excites me. A project. Something to create. Something to make our own.

It terrifies him. A logistical nightmare. The baby on the way. The amount of repairs and labor cost. Not to mention the time it would take.

We carefully ascend the winding staircase. We peruse the dusty abandoned rooms, tuning out Janet’s comments about nursery potential and “minor” paint changes.

David is quiet and I can tell he’s mulling thoughts twice over in his conflicted head. I love him for this. Always so painfully careful while I jump in head-first.

We climb the next set of stairs, and I fall captive to the attic scene before me: floor to ceiling shelves of books and ladders to access them all. Light from outside peers through the crack in the window, casting an ethereal glow of a smile onto the faded Persian rug. I’m enchanted.

Janet watches David watch me. She retreats to a corner of the room to give us privacy as we discuss. She tinkers with the various trinkets of a past life and strains her ears to hear.

I look at him earnestly. He is shaking his head but I sense his amusement in the situation. I smile. He does too. I say it’s perfect. He says I’m crazy.

It’s a stalemate now. We stand there in a staring contest hoping the other blinks first. I’m imagining my desk here in the center of the room. I imagine the velvet armchair in the corner by the window, and I imagine the writing that could get done here.

David intercepts these thoughts and syncs them with his own, calculating always calculating, and I wonder what the outcome will be when he surfaces. I hold my breath. He paces, scanning the walls and the floors and the cracked window one last time.

His gaze finally meets mine as we stand there in the middle of the room facing each other. His attention doesn’t falter from me as he calls out to the eavesdropping pantsuit in the room, “Well Janet,” he says smiling as if in disbelief, “she’s like nothing I’ve ever seen.”

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