Squirrels (week 3, day 3)
The most notable feature of the house wasn’t the architecture or the location, it was the laundry chute. Occupying less than an eighth of the hallway, the laundry chute drew the attention of everyone who entered, drawing forth questions or comments, within moments of being ushered past the threshold. The house had seen its fair share of owners over the years and, no matter how the home was decorated or who lived there, the chute held center stage.
It was a purely functional item. It operated as expected without needing brute force to open or close. It was placed well for swallowing the laundry generated by entertaining since it sat just outside the kitchen and near the dining room. Even the downstairs powder room was within a few steps. And it was perfectly normal for a house to have a laundry chute in the first place, especially since it had been built in the mid nineteen hundreds when it was all the rage to have a washing machine in the basement.
What drew the eye was its ornamentation. The door of the chute was, simply, a work of art. The average house guest wouldn’t know it but there was an opening on each floor that, taken together, were designed to tell a story. If you started with the door on the main level and worked your way up, you were treated to a story of growth while, if you started at the top floor and worked your way down, you experienced a story of loss. Even without the knowledge of the story (or stories), the doorway on the main floor almost demanded attention.
The door was made out of metal that had been shaped with such care it looked as if it had been painted. Many people who were drawn to it touched it before saying anything, needing to make contact with it to believe it was, in fact, just a door. It was a work of art that draws the viewer in, made even more compelling by it’s unexpected location and purpose.
At the center of the doorway was an image of a young man. Even though there was no color to the image most people assumed he was wearing blue pants that buttoned just below the knee and had blue straps over each shoulder. His shirt was imagined by most to be white and flowing. The scene around him was imagined to be full of color – bright green grass with small yellow flowers, dark green tree leaves exploding from deep brown branches, and a soft blue sky with puffy white clouds in the sky. In his hands he held a flute. It was being held at his chest as he gazed at the route ahead of him, seemingly unbothered by the squirrel who was behind him, hanging onto his glute with its tiny claws.
Max walked past the laundry chute multiple times each day and looked at it every single time. He had done the same that morning as he headed into the kitchen and was thinking about the boy as he began to sauté his breakfast.