I was invited to visit Frank yesterday.

And I did.

Coraline was right — the energy in the house is different. Lighter.

She senses a whole different house with a clean solid floor instead of tired carpet, and newer smooth chairs that replaced the old indented plush. I feel the stored energies in the wood of the buffet, in the roll-top desk, in the touch-lamp that remain. Familiar, but distant. They could only reach out, not sink claws in me.

Frank is a sweet old man. He seems to have changed little, except. Lighter?

I’m still processing. A lot to unpack in a short visit that was still longer than Coraline or I had expected.

10/10. Would visit again.


We discussed what it meant to me. This was a gift, from the only someone who could know its value. Who has heard the snarls as deeply as the carpet that was stripped away.

The previous time in this house, for me, had been the day Tyrone’s body was found, in September 2007. When I sat at the cold dining table, in the unwelcoming space, and discussed how and what we should tell the kids.

The time previous to that, was when Donna kidnapped the children just before Christmas, December 2000. When I was trying to open the door inward to leave with them, while Donna put her whole weight into keeping it closed. While she screamed into the phone that I was trying to push her down a flight of stairs, to hurry please hurry…

Coraline had been in the house her whole life. Regularly until her father passed, and sporadically after. She had traumas linked to the walls that have only in the past few years begun to resurface and be named.

It had been years since she had been inside those walls when she first stepped back in, just after Donna died. Last year? Was it only last year?

Even then, with the family processing the loss of its matriarch, the energy she knew was leaving.

She got her Grandpa Frank back.

And yesterday, she shared him with me.

He’s the standard older gentleman that hates being dependent on others, and is fortunate to have neighbors and family help him navigate this more difficult world.

He’d always been kind to me, as kind as allowed. This time there was no filter.

He’s funny. He’s concerned. He loves his grandchildren deeply. He is blind, but he sees.

He thanked my for my letter. I hugged him.

We all wore masks. This time, for once, they were just literal.

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