She said she would show me the house but in the event we stand in the hall where everything important happens nowadays. There’s a bell to signal a transaction; acquaintances, groceries. The dog arrives; a child leaves with a friend, pushes the red door into a wide street full of sycamores. We talk for three minutes. The hall has everything we need. She gestures expressively, glossing five floors. I say I like the hall’s sisal‑y ambience; it’s a node the way the stairs run off of it.
She is about to go out in her car and drive somewhere, before returning and collecting her thoughts in her hall. It’s here her partner kisses her, greeting or leaving, and here a matrix by an oriel prints out the family week. Apart from that the place is empty, excepting a piano, a fruit bowl brimming keys. I drive past the house routinely. I see my friend’s hall hold fast against distraction, dreamtime, leaves, society.
First published in Smiths Knoll