He watches as they load their car and the rented U-Haul. Fat tears blot the wooden floor and flare out like ink splashes. She grabs the cat, who has been moaning and rubbing itself on the wall all morning. It struggles, yowls, hisses and refuses to enter its carrier. Frightened by the water droplets, she scans the old parlor with its creaky floor leading up the majestic, yet shabby staircase. Tears prick her eyes, but she blinks them away. The cat is still rubbing itself against the wall.
“I know, I know,” she coos and kneeling, strokes its oozing spine, “I wanted to love this house so much, but it’s uninhabitable. We tried to make a go of it, I swear we did.”
They dreamed of renovating the old baroque banister and the peeling gold leaf that decorated the cornices in the spacious dining room. They fixed and polished the original hardwood floor, but they could never make this ramshackle old house a home.
The whispers, the moans, the swinging doors and flickering lights were too much for her. She feared she was losing her mind, but then Rob spoke of misplaced things, cold spots and mysterious water stains.
Her dream of renovating, and then inhabiting a centuries-old house crashed down the moment they acknowledged the indelible presence that meandered out of every nook and cranny. Only the cat loves this house, and as it mewls and purrs, she considers leaving it in its beloved and bedeviled home, but she wrangles it into its carrier and shuts the door.
The car rounds the corner and more water stains appear on the floor. Wanting company for so long he tried to welcome them as best he could. He opened and shut doors for them, switched the lights on and off as they needed, put their things away and at night, unburdened himself of his woes, of the loneliness and the tragic events that left him in a state of permanent limbo. He spoke about his sincere wish for company, love and family again, but only the cat listened, only the cat understood.
Phantom tears roll down his cheeks and splatter on the floor. The walls shake with his soulful laments as he contemplates yet another century of loneliness.