Back to the writing prompts for Day 21. After writing this I realized it’s not so much about someone who has lost their home as it is about a fictional version of me.
21. Foreclosure: Write a poem or short story about someone who has lost or is about to lose their home.https://thinkwritten.com/365-creative-writing-prompts/
“I thought the state had put a stop on mortgage payments and foreclosures during the pandemic?”
“I thought so, too.”
We stood at the curb, looking at the house. It looked like any number of the houses in the surrounding neighborhood. Probably four bedrooms, three and a half bathrooms. It was set into a hill, so like the nearby houses it had a walk-out basement. The front was brick, but we knew it to be decorative. All these houses are made of wood. A little portico covered the front step and a walkway led from the front door to a two-car garage, attached to the house. If I had to guess, I’d think it probably cost about $650,000. I’d seen other houses in the area for sale on Zillow.
Unlike the houses around it, a sign was sticking out of the front lawn. FOR SALE. Nothing unusual about that.
What was heartbreaking was the smaller sign dangling from the large one, with one very telling word: FORECLOSURE.
We often walked through this neighborhood. We would leave our development where we rented a townhouse and walk the leafy streets lined with single family homes.
This was the first time we’d seen a sign like that.
As we waited for our kids to catch up, we wondered about what was going on behind that front door, on the other side of those curtains. Just visible around the side of the house was a play set—slide, swing, seesaw. A glance at an upstairs window showed pink curtains, the back of a teddy bear’s head propped against the pane. One garage door was open, and we could see two children’s bikes inside. They were about the same size as the ones our children were riding on.
It was terrifying to see how very much like us this family was.
Maybe we’d passed them on one of our walks. Had we nodded politely, each family stepping off the path on either side to let the other pass? Had we intervened to stop the children from getting too close to each other?
I looked at that horrible word: FORECLOSURE. Are they legally obliged to put that on the sign? Why else would they hang it there like a badge of shame? Broadcasting your misery to all your neighbors. It seemed to me like adding insult to injury.
We walked on. I put my hand in my husband’s and gave it a squeeze. “There but for the grace of God go we,” I whispered.
He gave my hand what I thought was supposed to be a reassuring squeeze.