I’m a sucker for nostalgia. Like, I want a house to look like a house—the rectangle/triangle composite I’ve been drawing at least since kindergarten. First the basic square with the upside-down V, then the expanded, 3-D version only attempted and mastered by kids like me, who would choose crayons over candy (or at least take the time to deliberate).
Over the past several months, Seth has framed such luxuries as a six-foot tub, roomy closets, and four skylights—none of which, in my romantic heart, could hold a candle to the little angle that could. When he raised that upside-down V, my heart swelled with love. This was my house. It really was. My house.
My grandparents, city folk, had right angles all around. My parents met as children in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and played in peakless houses. Dad’s parents lived their whole lives in the three rectangular stories where Grandma Anne had grown up. Mom moved with her parents to the sixth floor apartment of a brick, square-topped building in Queens. Had my mother entertained herself as a child, drawing the square/triangle house too? With the chimney and the pouf of gray smoke?
I can’t remember when I started drawing mine. Was it before or after I turned five and my parents transplanted us from our 204th Street apartment to a peak-roofed, smoke-poufed house in the suburbs?
I didn’t realize this little triangle meant anything to me until Seth held it up against the sky and crowned our house. Before the storm, our roof was a flattened triangle-trapezoid hybrid. Now, our house pushes up into the sky unabashedly. And her ambitions will be richly rewarded when she is raised ten feet higher. All shall hail her Queen of the Block.
But to me, she will be just another incarnation of My Kindergarten House. I will decorate her with a dog and fence and flowers…and return to one of the oldest normals I know.