It’s been a week of snow and ice storms, which makes perfect weather for writing. For Week Six of Odd Prompts I got this one from Fiona Grey: “…plenty of swimming trees in the lake, as you can see,” the realtor said with a sweep of her hand toward the picture window. “They don’t bother anyone, but prefer to be left alone. Now, the kitchen is a real treasure…” The prompt brought to mind the level of blasé some realtors can call up when dealing with features in a house that make most of us go, huh? I have a few friends who are real estate agents and I could actually visualize them waving off swimming trees and just a fun quirk of the property.
But what if it was a defense mechanism by the house?
Walking in the front door of the house, Jonah felt a surging impression of welcome. He paused and looked around. Amber, his wife, was already in the living room talking with the real estate agent. Standing in the entry hall, Jonah took a deep breath and pushed the feeling aside. You cannot buy a house only on feeling. Pay attention to what the realtor ISN’T saying. He joined Amber and the agent in the living room.
“…plenty of swimming trees in the lake, as you can see,” the realtor said with a sweep of her hand toward the picture window. “They don’t bother anyone, but prefer to be left alone. Now, the kitchen is a real treasure…” she moved toward the kitchen.
Jonah stared out the indicated window in fascination. Sure enough, there were a number of trees floating in the lake. And…was that a branch moving?
“What are they doing?” he asked.
The realtor paused in her march toward the kitchen and glanced back. “Looks like the backstroke from here.”
“Oh, yeah. Do you know, do they mind if people swim in the lake?” Jonah responded. He gave a small start as another strong feeling of welcome washed over him.
The realtor looked puzzled. “I’m not sure. Nobody has ever said anything about swimming in the lake…just that the trees like to be left alone,” she paused before adding “the property line crosses the middle of the lake, actually just above where the trees are swimming, and includes most of the woods on either side of the house.”
Amber gazed at Jonah and raised an eyebrow. He shrugged slightly in response. The house seemed to want them there. They’d figure out the trees later.
“Let’s see the rest of the house,” Amber commented, giving Jonah a small nod.
“Of course,” the realtor continued into the kitchen. “As you can see, it’s been completely upgraded and has all new appliances…”
Half an hour later Jonah and Amber had poked into closets, commented on bathroom layouts, asked about property taxes, and discussed which of three bedrooms would make a good guest room.
Jonah glanced at the realtor. “Can you give us a minute to talk things over?”
“Of course, I’m happy to. I’ll be out in the front yard,” she smiled.
As soon as the front door closed behind her, Amber turned to Jonah. “Did you feel it? The house wants us here. And in a good way, not creepy like a haunted house or something.”
“Yes, I did. And look. The trees are out of the lake and back on the shore. It looks like an ordinary bit of woods now. Do you think the trees and the house are working together?” Jonah stared out the window at the lake.
Amber shrugged. “Seems like it. I mean, I KNOW the house likes us, and the trees are around the house.”
Jonah felt a slight positive surge in the air. “You know, I think you’re right. I think the trees were swimming to discourage people from bidding on this house. How long has it been on the market?”
Amber looked at the paper in her hand. “This says 18 months. The previous owner died, and her children have been trying to sell it since then. The price has come down about $20,000.”
Jonah smiled at his wife. “I think we found our dream home.”
Amber returned his smile. “Yes, we have.”
They both stared around the living room. “Hi. We’re home,” Jonah said quietly.
Another impression of welcome accompanied by the faint smell of baking cookies answered him.