A Tiny House of Magic

There is a house within the house in which I live. It’s a small house, two stories, with a small wooden porch in front, and small paned windows without shutters, and a small chimney poking out of the small roof, and a small front door with an even smaller brass doorknob, begging a knock.

This small house is in my attic, painted onto the white wooden walls, put there by Bez as she was working on what she calls her perpetual canvas, which is nothing more but those same white wooden walls. She started painting on the north wall a few years ago, putting trees and animals and water down, from her mind to her hand to my wall, and she’s been going ever since, worked around the points of the compass. The north wall is lit in the dawn’s light, and everything there, creatures and cars and books and vegetables and dancing gypsies, everything is lit in the warm light of the morning sun. On the eastern wall, the light shines brighter, a mid-afternoon glow, and people stroll and carriages are pulled by horses or camels or mechanical creations of iron and brass and steam, going from ancient medieval cityscapes to metropolises of steel and ivory and electric futures.

My house, the small painted one, is on the southern wall, on the edge of where the sunset of the south meets the dark midnight of the west. Bez hasn’t finished either of these walls yet, but she is in no rush. My house, the larger one, isn’t going anywhere, so she knows she doesn’t have to hurry.

She doesn’t believe me when I tell her that if I lay on the floor, I can look into the window of the painted house and see what’s going on inside. I can see the edge of a writing desk behind a curtain, with papers scattered across it, the writing much too small to read. There’s a bed upstairs, and sometimes there are tiny figures sleeping in it, under the covers, while other times the bed is empty, and there are sounds from the rear of the house that I can’t quite make out, perhaps games being played, perhaps dinner being made.

Tonight there is a light moving through the house, and I can catch a glimpse of a candle moving past one window, then another, and in the reflection of a tiny mirror, I see a woman walk past, dressed in red. I only see her a moment, and then she is gone again as the candlelight recedes.

Sometimes, small puffs of smoke rise up out of the chimney, but not tonight.

With the right kind of fingers, you can feel the doorknob, if you brush just your fingertip against it. The door is always locked when I try to open it, but I am certain that if I keep trying, someday the knob will turn, and the door will swing open, and I’ll be able to peer inside, like Alice in Wonderland, and maybe be able to squeeze myself in through the mouse hole of a door and have tea and cake with the people who live in it.

Bez thinks I’m crazy, but just because she can’t see the magic doesn’t mean that she’s not capable of creating it.

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  1. Goodness. That is beautiful.


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