It is not something to be taken so lightly. The tiles with names painted on them stacked up in the basement. Each a child long grown and gone God knows where. Some caked with mud from the storm. No one was killed but the loss of property (not to mention the terrible inconvenience) was of biblical proportions. Looters let the tiles be. So there the tiles remain. After all these years. What do you think of that? What will you give me for them? Great sentimental value. So much stuff and junk. Put a sticker on them and sell them for 5 cents each. Enough to recover the cost of the ad and maybe a dinner out but at my age what is the point. I don’t need the money particularly and besides, where am I going? Been here too long. Should have left when the kids grew up. Rain water now soaking the third floor. Hate to imagine what the attic looks like. A fright. When it gets to the second, by the time it gets to the second, I will no longer be able to climb the stairs so that will be my cue. Relocate to floor one. The lean to off the kitchen, there. You haven’t seen it? It’s there. Where he does God knows what. Sits at a desk and stares into space. It’s a big enough room. Window. Though his desk faces the wall so to he never gets to admire the view.

Yes, isn’t that house fantastic. That is the one we wanted but it wasn’t for sale so we ended up here, next door. The next best thing. Still, I watched them put a lot of money into it over the years so it was probably a pit. Bet it is nice inside, now. Unless of course it is all for show. Paint it every year, just about. Didn’t replace the windows, not like we did. Had them restored. Restored. And you can be sure that cost them something. Men out there for weeks, stripping them down, restringing all the ropes, making them work flawlessly. Still, they are not like mine. Mine are better. Theirs are impossible to clean. Mine tilt out. I can still handle them, yes I can. It must be costing them a fortune in heat though because they never turn the lights on. Barely a light on in the house, and I know there must be at least 3 of them in there. The son. The parents. Plus the occasional visitor. And workers. Electricity isn’t too expensive but it adds up. And really, now. Do you really need it? Eat by candle. What did people do before the electric light? Tell stories. Ghost stories. Jokes. Tales of old people, ancestors, or cousins in the old country. Old people in the old country who were dead and  probably resented their departure. This place not good enough for you anymore. Good enough for us for 500 years and poof there you go big shot what are you looking for? Some of the ships sank. Disease. Cholera. Christ wonder why they didn’t just get the next boat back. Things must have been pretty rotten or they were in trouble in the Old Country so here they stayed. Probably it was more likely pride. Couldn’t go back and admit they were wrong. Could not possibly have done that. So they stayed. Had kids, died young. Kids had kids. And finally joined the middle class, went to school, painted their names on tiles.

Here I am. In a house I don’t need filled with stuff I don’t need but nobody wants. Such it is. Such as it is. Grow up and live in a box, a nice box with windows I can wash these windows, yes I can.  Just hang on for a few more years. Couldn’t stand to sell. Couldn’t stand to see all my things broken up, sold, scattered, given away or tossed. My whole life under this roof. Except of course for the ending. I’ll live on the first floor when the water comes down. Move up to the second if necessary in a flood.