She loved derelict buildings for their spent potential. Old homes with their slate shingles teetering on the edge of catastrophe, on inward sloping roofs, crinkled with age. The house on Central Street caught her off guard - neglect but then, wait, a new door, a set of windows smugged with new stickers, still unmoved. Certainly the house was abandoned but then why this? That was not what was wondered for more then a second.
The more pressing matter: Why fill me with such love? -Such abiding love- Good and honest love, yet a love withheld. She could not help her love of these older men any more than she could help her love of the withering, the falling, the beautifully despairing in unending silence. Why take so much away and fill me with such endless love?
Had she had the time, she would have counted. She would have counted the books on his shelves, the papers he carried, the words (Oh, the words!) that he spoke to her with such candor and concern. She would have written to see if he had monogrammed stationery to send her back. She would have so many things, before now, being left to count only the days between nothing and nothing - there would be no time in which she would see him again.
When she was eleven she had dreamed: And love was not like this.
She recalls not saying good bye, is numbed by this. She had not wanted to make a scene, had wanted to leave quietly, had not had the courage to go up and asked for what she wanted. He was bent over his desk, dark hair arched over his forehead, and she had wanted it to fall into his eyes, wanted to see the delicate annoyance as he pushed it aside, wanted him to look up as she turned past the door, she overflowing with such quiet love -How could he not feel it!- So many times she had wanted to lean in too far. There had been moments when kisses seemed possible, when interlocking fingers - his large one wrapped around her small ones, encasing them - were only a slightly displaced reality. And here, in this moment of farewell, this should have been the realization of those moments. This was the time for her to speak. But she had already let him go in her mind, allowed him to leave her so that she could leave him. Unspoken she turned past the door.
The door on the house was new and modern with arcs twisting outward from a central spoke. Instead of brightening the surrounding destruction, it allowed itself to be weighed down by its neighbor the loosening siding, jutting out at wild angles - the door's potential remaining untapped.