Southern Heat by Madison Bradley

 

Excerpt from Homes and Houses by Audrey Brant

Restless spirits live here. But they are alive. They have bodies, but no souls. They inhabit this house, but they don’t truly live in it. Their home is not this structure. This building holds them, but it does not hug them. There is an absence of presence here. An absence of positive emotion. Wood and concrete and walls and a roof do not create a home. Only love can do that. Shingles and lumber and cement do not create love. Only warmth and light from people can do that.

Money might make the world go around, but love makes it twirl; a mandatory rotation compared with the joy and freedom of a child’s pirouette.”

And not the warmth that comes from a furnace, or the light that blooms from a bulb. The kind that comes from a heartbeat or a compassionate mind. Isolation and alienation make a home into a house. Irritation and annoyances spill over into hatred. Little things build up into big problems. A once-shared home becomes a house divided by stress and fading tolerance. Storms of silence brew between a family until it’s unbearable, and somebody leaves.

They thought, for the longest time, that homelessness was being without a place to stay, or living on the streets. But when you’ve lost your family, when you’ve lost the people you love or their love for you, that’s when you are truly without a home. Money might make the world go around, but love makes it twirl; a mandatory rotation compared with the joy and freedom of a child’s pirouette.

And somewhere along the line, a glimmer of hope appears, like shining stardust into a pool that sends golden ripples to the outskirts of its vessel. An unforeseen rosy light overcomes the house and blankets every room. This light is not from the fixtures in the ceilings or from the televisions omitting their unnatural glow; this light is from peace. The loneliness that came from the individual’s departure dissipates into serenity. The remaining inhabitant finds that their house is more of a home than it ever was.