For the first time in too long, I felt at home.
But that sensation fled when I rounded the last bend and saw the house, or what was left of it. A fire had gutted the old stone mansion, staining the outer walls with soot that winter snows and summer rains had not erased entirely. The roof had collapsed; I spotted the charred remains of the heavy beams jutting out of the ground floor.
My heart ached, ribs grown too tight to hold it comfortably. I stumbled forward and found an old bucket overturned beneath one of the front windows. When I stood upon it, I saw the scorched remains of the heavy velvet curtains that had once blocked out the sunlight. A few shattered, blackened sticks of furniture were scattered across the broken floor. It looked as though, when the fire had taken the house, much of the contents had been the same as when I was a child.
Had someone been living in the Somerville house when it burned? Or had Ben’s family simply abandoned it, as he’d abandoned me?
I finished chapter one this morning. Like Evelyn, it's been too long since I've felt at home with the work, and it feels good to look forward to writing time again.