A Home in Greenpoint
By Zuzanna Wasiluk
Thanksgiving at my aunt’s house in Greenpoint is an entirely memorable experience due to the eccentric details filling every room for an environment reflecting my aunt’s comforts and conflicts.
My arrival to my aunt’s house was well received by the dog of the house with a routine that we’ve mastered over 13 years of knowing each other. Looking into my eyes of green flora, a charming lick managed to spread across my cheek and my features morphed into an Impressionist painting. When it was over, and the routine was fulfilled, I wiped the dog’s drool off my face. Could it have been more intrinsically holy than water on the evening of Thanksgiving? I greeted my aunt and her husband without the warm welcome of a dog’s jaws. Every year, I think how lucky I am to live in a world with November and this couple’s story written in the items they hold in this home.
I glanced into the next room to see who had already arrived before us, and a film rolled in track with the steps I made in the past. Then I moved through the hallway to find a chair with a curved edge for my bag. The furthest corner of the room had a small couch, a couch that should look out-of-place, yet no one has incorporated a couch next to a table and chairs as well as I have seen here. The couch was dressed in a terracotta brown of a grandmother in velvet. The armrests looked like snakes without the luxuries of a balanced diet woven into a braid. I saw my aunt move carefully while navigating the tray of oven-roasted potatoes and salad, eyeing our glasses as if the leader of a movement against half-filled glasses.
I once believed her to be the collector of grand objects and harborer of grander affections.
The table took up the entire available space in its circular glory, like a large circle within the space of an equally sized square, leaving only the corners untouched. From the tablecloth of textured lace stood a replica of graph paper illuminated by white embroidery thread. The wall on the left displayed typical forms of taxidermy, two deer heads that looked out to the opposite wall with full-bodied horse statues. At the center of these two heads was the skull of a jaundiced long-faced animal with marbled grey horns that looked as though they would feel more glass blown than blown through the wind of life and natural birth. The responsible lamp stood on the stand of a body of several horns that protruded like commas in a sentence. The markings of bone and age had resembled the harshness of wood cracking on a tree. Near the bottom, antlers intertwined like vines to reveal the light provided for a tree-like texture. The vine-like antlers were an artistic expression of the dark underbelly of our earth in New York, whether unhappiness seeps into it or it associates itself in other creatures of haughtiness. In a corner, hung a wagon wheel too small to use anymore or hang up one day to swing on. This wagon wheel marked the presence of a white archway below. Like a grandfather clock perched upon a fireplace stood a wine bottle laced in vines and tree roots with a bow of a scalloped leaf hanging loosely against the neck of a bottle like a dress. A small faucet stood to make water from earth to wine, with glasses sitting as comfortably as tree stumps.
In a window-like border, painted in terracotta, there was a mirror installed behind the shelves that gave the impression of sitting by the ocean from the painting hung opposite the mirror. The painting reflected in the mirror regardless of the season, as if its charm on the room would hold longer than the paint on the canvas. The view of the painting reflected in the mirror captivated some subconscious desires of sitting on the beach, feet dipped in the water to curl our toes.
I turned my head to accept the offered piece of turkey, as my aunt declared her worried state: “I can’t stand how dusty this house becomes, I care enough to dust one corner after the other, and by the time I’m done, I just have to repeat the cycle over again!” She had the uncanny ability to believe in the worst of things that didn’t exist. Her furniture didn’t litter her house, and it certainly didn’t collect dust in the intention of driving her out. I wonder if the furniture around had been the remnants of her youth or young love story, and the temptation of discarding the interior soul of her home was motivated by the bittersweet shame of things she used to find beautiful. How long until I would feel the need to dust my paintings in a routine to destroy until, one day, I’m lucky enough that the paint peels along with the canvas or crumbles? I couldn’t face her for the rest of the evening, knowing that I once believed her to be the collector of grand objects and harborer of grander affections.
I began writing this on my aunt’s abandoned notepad after our Thanksgiving meal which had met every standard my aunt had developed for herself in the past, and we were all faint with gratitude. I noticed that my aunt’s home had elements of herself and her partner who had claimed his presence with his tastes. The combined whole of their interior represents their partnership, and I wished to profess my gratitude for them in writing about their interior. I wrote down every detail I could think of that would color in the room for anyone reading. I devoted more attention to the interior of my aunt’s house to discover how she feels about her worldly possessions.
Zuzanna Wasiluk grew up in Greenpoint and had multitudes of pets in her early childhood. However, she’s been reduced to two kittens at the moment, Cricket and Felix. She attends high school in Brooklyn, NY, and a Polish school in Greenpoint to connect to her roots. She enjoys creative writing and painting as personal hobbies and joined Girls Write Now to develop as a writer in a more comprehensive direction in an inclusive environment.