I was never into building houses.
It always fascinated me once it was all finished, but I always found the process next to impossible for somebody like me.
On the other hand, I know somebody who actually loves to build things. When he was once knee-high to a grasshopper, it was a world he knew all too well. Bricks stacked on top of another, aching to bring to life his vivid imagination, you knew it was a gift that, once harnessed, could create dimensions and layers of universes, gently intertwining with one another.
When I saw you, I knew there was so much you could do. So tell me now, before we muddle once again in our distorted thoughts if you could build me a house.
It starts with the construction site. Usually, this requires 2 steps: The first is to clear the ground from any obstruction; vegetation, boulders, and tree stumps that have probably been around for a hundred years. Survey the lot and start clearing a space for us to thrive.
Seems too easy for you? Take away the hurt you’ve been nesting and the dangerous mindsets that have been tested and proven to burn houses. Scoop out all your assumptions with no basis and tell me that this little space is ours, and ours alone.
What, is it still too easy for you? Following that, plow the soil so you could loosen parts needed to be removed. Toughen up because this will take work but also, soften up, you’re not a machine.
Pour the foundation. As it’s been said, everything stems from a solid foundation. Set it up nice and smooth. While it may take a bit more labor, an ache of patience, and close attention to detail, trust me, once the roof has touched the white puff of clouds, you’ll be thankful the foundation is as solid as a rock. As you smooth the concrete, ensuring there are no unnoticed cracks or crevices, you’ll realize how exhausting this is.
So I’ll give you one last call. One last chance to free yourself of the task and plan a clean getaway. Oh, you’re still in? Well, we’re just getting started, and once you start, you should know that there’s little to no room for uncertainty, and when you’re in, you’re in for good.
Construct and complete rough framing. We’re done with the foundation but that doesn’t mean we’re out of the woods. This means what it means: the frame, the basics, the skeleton of the house.
Let’s give this a floor, four walls, a ceiling, and the protection of a roof. Tell me a bit more about yourself and I’ll tell you more about me. But remember, no lies.
In my opinion, this is almost as important as the foundation because now I know you’re in it for good, let’s just sit and have a little fun. Apparently, your mother kicked your father out of the house, and you think it’s for the best; tell me why. You felt isolated by your friends; I’d like to help. My experience wasn’t always so good either. I never felt like I fit in. I was weird and once thought I’d never make friends.
We’ve had the basics wrapped up and down but now, I want to know the layers and complexities that make up your humanity–– what makes you real. This is our skeleton; we construct our little inside jokes and complete the hidden words that were once a puzzle. Oh, and before moving on, I should mention, that I love hardwood floors!.. Oh, not that part yet?
Pipes, wires, vents, water supply lines, shower units, ductwork for HVAC system––Did you get all of that? I know I didn’t but don’t worry, we’ll figure it out together. I know I said you were supposed to build me a house but I want to help. This is ours, after all… Oh, these are all the pipes!
Install insulation. I read somewhere that insulation is paramount to establishing a more comfortable and consistent climate indoors. While you’re deciding what insulation you’d prefer to use, let me just say that we’ve been here for quite a while. And honestly? From the moment we started, it feels as if we’ve been floating in an air of pink clouds and golden sunsets. But despite the halo of the honey-colored moon above, we know that we’ve been going through a lot of work to make this last. Insulation keeps consistency. And just as you install it, I need to know how far will your consistency go. For a second’s stutter, I ask when you plan on letting the exhaust and weariness of a long day’s work sink in; when you plan on settling with what we’ve got just because it seems “good enough”.
What we’ve been doing entails consistency, and I know that time’s on our side because when we finish, the insulation we’ve installed we’ll keep up with us. But before any of the goodwill fall straight into our lap, we’ll be welcoming dust and dirt. How long are you willing to stay consistent? There’s still so much to do.
Complete the interior and exterior fixtures. Brick walls are pretty and they seem rather sturdy. Hey, here’s an idea: What do you think we get a little deeper? For a second, let’s let the oranges rot and apples go missing, I’d like to see what it would take to scare you. I want to know your extremes, wouldn’t you like to taste mine?
We’ve gone so far, and I’m really proud. Who would’ve thought we’d be halfway done? But honestly, this is all I need so far. We’ve been so focused on creating our masterpiece that I don’t want us to forget the rest of the world still exists out there.
I think we’re done, just a few more requests and final touches. The time you decide to hang our first frame, let it be a memory of our first complications; the first few strands of hair pulled out in frustration; that patch of scratches on your arm from a night of confusion; and the pair of sticks once used in raw combat.
I don’t want us going through the rest of our lives forgetting about the times we thought we’d lose it all. When it’s time you feel like covering the walls of our living room with wallpaper, let it be a pattern we never thought we’d consider. Think of it as an open door and a promise that we’d always keep an open mind when it comes to our ideals, beliefs, and aspirations––Friday’s blue jeans might be Monday’s pencil skirt. Let’s not restrict ourselves to the world inside our house. And I know that’s a lesson I’m still trying to learn but trust me when I say I’m trying. Finally, someday, when we’re older and we feel as if we’ve already experienced most of the good this house had to offer, let’s move and give this house away. Whether it be to a friend or family member––or even a child if ever––I want them to know how it feels to be surrounded by so much warmth and comfort. From clearing out the site to adding your mother’s favorite plant, it took years worth of strength and compassion to pluck the rocks and rubble and set a space just for us; to live, thrive, fight, and do it all over again with no intention of ever giving up on each other.
And when they ask why we never raised the white flag, I’ll say it’s because I love you and I love what we created, and someday, when somebody we know is about to experience a feeling too magical to be put into words, I want them to keep the house and fill it with as many good memories and bad fights as we once did.
If god forbid we fail to establish our own legacy, at least the world will know how we still had a good thing going.
Cover image by National Cancer Institute / Unsplash. The copyright of ‘Build Me A House” belongs to Gab Jopillo.