Monday, January 6, 2020

the last book I ever read (The Yellow House: A Memoir by Sarah M. Broom, excerpt thirteen)

from National Book Award winner The Yellow House: A Memoir by Sarah M. Broom:

The only structure that was stable at the time of demolition was the incomplete add-on that my father had built. The house contained all of my frustrations and many of my aspirations, the hopes that it would one day shine against like it did in the world before me. The house’s disappearance from the landscape was not different from my father’s absence. His was a sudden erasure for my mother and siblings, a prolonged and present absence for me, an intriguing story with an ever-expanding middle that never drew to a close. The house held my father inside of it, preserved; it bore his traces. As long as the house stood, containing these remnants, my father was not yet gone. And then suddenly, he was.

I had no home. Mine had fallen all the way down. I understood, then, that the place I never wanted to claim had, in fact, been containing me. We own what belongs to us whether we claim it or not. When the house fell down, it can be said, something in me opened up. Cracks help a house resolve internally its pressures and stresses, my engineer friend had said. Houses provide a frame that bears us up. Without that physical structure, we are the house that bears itself up. I was now the house.

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