Credit: Lydia Fu

The pipes burst upstairs the other day. And so soon after we moved in. We shouldn’t be surprised, I suppose. For better or worse, and all. But still. What started as a creeping water stain soon became a gentle rainfall, and now our home is starting to bloom. There’s moss and flowers and tiny ferns everywhere we look.

The only thing we had was the couch. It was a mid-century, one I had found at an estate sale. The woman I bought it from called it an heirloom, and she spoke about it in terms of investing, of value retention and appreciation. It was stained and sopping after the first night, and by night two it was covered in a blanket of lichens. This is, in a word, alarming. We’ve asked for someone to come in to test the air for mold, someone who can hopefully stop this endless rain. Someone to pry under our tiles and tell us what we have here.

The growths spread like a bruise. Every day they eat up more of this place. We had a plan, you see. Cowhide rugs. His records on the wall. Prints, sketches, chairs made from wicker and oak. Things like bread boxes and mason jars as cups and artisanal bars of soap. A natural heft to everything, a minimization of the type of hokey plastic waste that had subsumed both of our homes growing up. We were committed to the idea of living purposefully and beautifully, of being selective about the things we buy. This is not what we planned. The entire first floor is covered in a thick coat of green. Everything is tangled together. We can’t hardly walk in our own house.

At night the rain pitter-patters across our faces so we can’t sleep. Another thing we’ve learned to accept. Our plan folds in on itself like a schoolyard game, the type we made out of paper and wrote the name of our future on. The plants have taken everything from us, and we continue to give to them. We buy food and fertilizer and scatter it on the floor. He’s taken to measuring the heights of the vines. We mark their growth on our doorframes with pencil marks. A day will come when our house is swallowed whole by the earth and its tendrils, and we will sit in dark dirt forever, and we will be cared for.   v