This is my dream house. As in, I dream about this very house and often. If it ever goes on the market – part of me wants to buy it sight unseen just because of the story it tells me.

I’ve never seen anything but this view of the house and it’s magical to me. I drive by it and wonder – who lives there? What are they doing?

I imagine an artist, quirky and intelligent, walks the halls with paint brushes still wet from her latest canvas – which is drying in the sunlight out back.

It’s set back farther from the road than the other homes and if you’re not paying attention when you drive past, you will miss it. I see it as a whispered invitation to look, to be a voyeur from the street because it flirts with me as I drive by.

I love it’s trees and how they look like they’re protecting the small house. I like the simplicity of the curb appeal – the madman’s landscaping. The overgrown, yet manicured, polish.

If I were a child inhabiting that house I would spend hours laying on my back watching the clouds from the front lawn dreaming of tea parties with lights strung from the branches above me – flowers all over and bird houses. I’d pretend I was Snow White and could talk to all the animals – and they’d talk back.

The best lure about this house for me is the secret it holds so well. I’ve never seen anyone coming or going – yet the decor on the front door changes with seasons. Currently: Antlers are adorning a welcome.

It could just be the place I always wonder about, but maybe someday it’ll be my home. And a happy home I would make it.

Now for the story: None of what I write next is true. Let’s call this – The Fictional Edition.

A single woman lives here. She was married once and has a daughter from that time in her life. She’s no divorce, she is a widow. But she’s dangerously lovely. Dreadlocks running down her back wildly as her daughter, Poppy, runs afoot in bloomers and linen dresses.

This house holds them carefully as they travel through the halls dreaming and painting, creating a life. Because she was married and lost her love, because out of that love there is now a child she’s careful with her heart. It’s wounded but she tends to it in the garden, in her flowers and on her canvas. She tends to her brokenness in the stories she tells Poppy at bed time and in the photos she takes of her at play.

Her neighbors only know part of the story, that her husband died. She moved here after that. They don’t see her much, she’s a bit antisocial, but her daughter – with that unruly, curly hair is always bouncing around outside in cotton fabric, dresses weaved from another time, an influence of another place. She dances like she’s privy to the beat of a drum only she can hear. Always moving. Always smiling.

How sad, they mumble by the mail boxes, chatting in a neighborly way – wondering outloud why she doesn’t “get out more”. She hears them. She can see them wondering about her.

This house is her After. The healing place she came to after the death. His death. After her Before was shattered. It’s not a place she thought she would ever be. It’s sad and she knows it – but she has beauty from those ashes. She has Poppy. She has this house, a sanctuary. The place that picked her up after everything fell down.

Maybe it’s not ok to put that kind of name on a place. Healing in an address. But she doesn’t care, it is. And it has nothing to do with the address and everything to do with what this place calls her to do. To care for something, to make. To use her hands in a way that otherwise would be idle work. Turning soil, making bread, washing clothes, making braids and pigtails.

She knows she has to start talking to someone. To anyone. She’s not interested in being the crazy lady behind the door, but right now, today … she is happy. No matter what they think.

This is their house. Her and Poppy’s. And they’re doing just fine. Flourishing inside those walls. Getting up from the night and walking, hand in hand, into the sunlight. Every. Single. Day.