Home by Fatma Al Shehab

“To love me is to love a haunted house; it’s fun to visit once a year, but no one wants to live there.”
The first time you approached me, your incessant pounding on my front door frightened me because nothing good ever comes from an unwanted visitor.
But you slept on my doorstep and one day when the rain was coming down tremendously hard, I decided to invite you in.
You didn’t mind that my floorboards were creaky and you never winced even once at the cobwebs covering the majority of my ceiling.
I knew because I was watching. 
You didn’t overstay your welcome and when you left, you forgot your jacket.
For some reason, seeing it sit on the back of the sofa made me feel perpetually comforted.
I wasn’t surprised when you didn’t come back the next day, or the day after.
I would have to be stupid to think you could ever feel safe in such a dark place.
But you startled me when you pulled up my winding driveway with buckets of paint in both hands and one of those smiles that made your eyes look all crinkley.
I was worried about the blood that was still smeared on my walls from previous owners, but you calmly washed it away.
It didn’t seem to bother you?
My walls were being covered with all the vibrant colors of the rainbow.
The next thing I knew, you were coming back everyday.
When you pulled back my shades, the sun came flooding in and I have never seen light make something so beautiful.
You took every bone out of my closets and cupboards, but you knew that you could never get rid of them no matter how bad you wanted to.
Instead you whittled them into intricate dollhouse furniture, and it felt like my youth was being refunded.
All of my broken windows had sharp edges and you were very careful around the glass that was left behind because you knew how deep it could cut
So you put gloves on and replaced it and now there isn’t a draft or howling sound inside of me anymore.
Slowly, and very unsurely, I felt myself being renovated completely.
There was even a for sale sign in my front yard that had the words “open house” written on it.
And people actually came.
You made a home out of me and decided to stay.
I may still have ghosts that wander through my hallways and bedroom, but you order them away.
I’m no longer haunted.

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