Mary kept all these things in her heart.

Art courtesy of the author.

The house had a white roof, as if to shield the occupants from everything wrong. Every bad word they uttered, every indecent act was somehow absolved by the white roof. Some days it seemed steam was pouring out from under that strange albino Spanish style tiled covering. All the other houses in the neighbourhood were protected by the usual coral red toned tiles that Florida is famous for.

This manse was new though. The man who had had it built stood outside often during the lengthy construction phase. Pacing up and down as if his activity might hasten the completion of his desire. “That’s a very nice house” a lady remarked one day as she was gliding by on a bicycle.

“It is taking too long to finish!” The man announced with a healthy harrumph to underline his dissatisfaction.

The following year the building was complete. It had soaring white walls, moorish windows with turquoise shutters and canvas canopies to shield the inside from the oppressive Florida heat. On either side there were bungalows. Low slung houses with a carefree air. The little purple grey home to the east of the white roof residence sometimes made teasing remarks about its behemoth neighbour.

“Feeling saucy? Looks like there’s some spaghetti boiling up inside you!” These kinds of remarks happened on days when the venomous seeming air streaming from inside the house was like the vapour from false cigarettes except the steam from the house had no perfume. It seemed to be a scentless sordid evaporation of rage.

Nobody ever got a glimpse inside the house once it was built. The owner rarely appeared. The little lemon lime colored home to the west of the fortress sometimes giggled making the tiles on its roof clatter. “Fee Fi Fo Fum I smell no blood or any sum!”

“What does THAT mean??” The house across the street all sweet in its pinky pale tones would enquire.

“There’s no hint of what that foggy stuff is being emitted from! They could well be cooking dumplings in there…I suspect it is more sinister than that though…”

For weeks the three houses chattered about what the angry smoke like steam could possible be coming from.

Then one day a little boy came marching out of the front door of the house. Behind him was the grumpy owner. He was smiling-as much as his tense, angry mouth would allow- and he had one hand gently resting on the back of the boy’s head urging him forward.

The boy opened his arms wide and behind him a little cape flapped. On the backs of his legs were what looked like little engines. They began to spew steam as the boy stepped out onto the road and the man got into his big, expensive car.

The boy ascended by his jet propelling leg contraptions and the man drove carefully along underneath the boy’s trajectory.

“Ah,” the rosy home across the road exclaimed . “His guardian angel was just in there practising!”

“Yes” added the mauvey house to the east, “That must be it. The little helper was flying all around the inside of that prison…perhaps it doesn’t even have any rooms in it! It’s not a home it’s a hangar.”

The greenish house to the west flapped its shutters in agreement.  “That man was never angry. He was just a prophet, building his temple; a place where his guardian angel could work on his powers of accompaniment and flight to travel around with the sage as he drives through this hot crazy place helping out”.

In an upstairs window of the huge house with a white tiled roof, a person looked out at the boy and the man as they advanced away along the little Florida avenue into the world. There was a look of great relief and peace on the person’s  face as they drew the shutters closed. And in the twilight the canvas that was the roof of the house gained a gentle azure hue.

Magdalena Randal is a filmmaker and artist currently living in the Maritimes.

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