The Memory House: "I'll leave you my fantasy," he said. "It's all I have to leave you in any case."
Ip Dip: Ip dip, sky blue, who's it...?
Fulcrum: Fulcrum, n. (pl. -ra). (Mech.) point against which lever is placed to get purchase.
Snow: Doesn't anyone die for love nowadays?
That Celeb. Smile: Trouble is, any photograph worth taking, costs.
Excerpt from The Memory House:
“I’ll leave you my fantasy,” he said. “It’s all I have to leave you in any case. Gillian and the kids get the money.”
“Can I change it?” she asked.
“Of course you can. It’s yours. You can do what you like with it. But leave the room at the end of the attic corridor. Don’t change that.”
A month later an eighteen-year-old driving his father’s car without permission or insurance tried to overtake on a blind corner. She did not even know he had been killed. Nobody thought to tell her. How could they? She prepared supper for him, but he did not come. After a while she turned off the gas and ate a few mouthfuls by herself, standing in the kitchen of her basement flat with a magazine propped against the toaster. Then she washed up the single plate, knife, fork and glass and went to bed.
He did not call the next day. The day after that, she phoned his office number.
The house was old; grey and gold, flint and stone, with tall, pointed gables and high chimneys. It sat dreaming in its own valley. Beyond the gardens apple trees ran down to a stream. On the other side of the water woods clung to the slopes of the hills. The road into the valley was at the bottom of a deep, weathered gully with roots showing through the clay on either side. Driving in he would change down to navigate the winding incline between the beeches, then slow to a crawl to splash through the ford. After that he would accelerate alongside the sun-warmed orchard wall and swing onto the gravel driveway. From the passenger seat she would see flints embedded in the mortar blur with speed and hear the sudden crunch of tyres on pebbles, always with a feeling of coming home.
They built the house, planned the gardens, mapped out the valley, sitting side by side in her basement bed with a bottle of wine or a pot of coffee. It was never finished. Sometimes they would add an entire wing, complete with bathrooms and Victorian plumbing, only to tear it down again the following weekend.
After a while some of the rooms became permanent features. The hallway almost immediately. Panels; dark, waxed floors with a scatter of rugs; large enough to have a fire burning whatever weather they might have imagined beyond the front door. The library, shabby and smelling comfortably of leather, dust, furniture polish and glue. The wine cellar. Damp, candle-blackened brick arches sprinkled with pale salts leached out of the earth.