“When you look into the first bedroom, you will cry because of the way the felt comforter has been mussed to look as though someone has been sleeping in it.”
The basement is cool cement and spiders, and when you find the dollhouse, it is shining out from behind a foil tube you will have to skirt around.
It will be yellow, a perfect miniature in every aspect. Its staircase will be thick with dust, and you will have to convince yourself that there are no tiny footprints at its base, which curves intimately into each upward step.
You will bring this dollhouse upstairs and dust it off on your back porch, watching as it takes a breath and becomes vivid again. Every move you make causes the little dishes in the sink to rattle. The child-sized foundation will shudder at the feel of your fingertips on its spine.
When you look into the first bedroom, you will cry because of the way the felt comforter has been mussed to look as though someone has been sleeping in it. You will try and glue its peeling wallpaper back into a discernable pattern, and when you fail you will rip it off entirely.
You will find a note on the bedside table that says, “Gone for a walk.” It will be signed with a heart so small it could be a smudge; the handwriting is prim and miniscule. You try to forget about a similar note on a much larger table, ending without even the most diminutive of hearts. You move to the next room.
You use a drop of Lysol for the windows and a spray bottle to powerwash the porch. You will stock the fridge with red and green beads that remind you of apples.
By the time you finish cleaning, it will be late and the walls will be dark. Your own, human-sized house is empty, and when you lay a finger on its hardwood floors you will want it to shiver back an answer. When it doesn’t you will cry again, dragging your nails across the grain until they splinter and tire.
And when you finally go to sleep that night, it is curled around a dollhouse, trying your hardest to keep it from falling apart.
Photo by Todd Lappin.