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Emilie and the Strange Freedom

What remained of Emilie entered her home unnoticed, moving without need of walker or cane. She entered. Emilie made her way, not onto the porch, but into it. Her essence, the best and lasting part of her, seeped deep within the structure of the home, soaked into the foundation, and settled in the brick and mortar.

Emilie became one with the hardwood floors, baseboard, molding, paint, wall paper, plaster, insulation, electrical wiring, air ducts, windows, ceiling, attic and roof, like a pleasant but persistent odor, at home in the fabric where she spent so much of her life, back when she was limited by humanity, with its frailties and finite (and at times broken) dreams.

All her adult life, Emilie had felt enclosed by unforgiving boundaries, like barbed wire on flesh. They provided protection but confinement. Now, she had been given pleasant boundaries, and freedom, where health and unrealistic expectations were not a consideration.

It was the last day of school again, and Emilie had just gotten off the bus in the middle of a summer field, with flowers and fondly remembered smells. Near, far, and too far had become equidistant, all within reach. Past, present and future possessed interchangeable meanings. Nothing carried a price tag, because it was all priceless.

From now on, Emilie would be exactly as remembered, no matter if they recalled fact, fiction, or a mix of both. She would be as expected and more. She would be everything her family, friends and even strangers, needed her to be, at any time, forever. At the same time, she would be whatever she wanted to be. Emilie had been given a great gift: The ability to become a pleasant memory.

“You smell so nice,” Emilie said.

The house took in a deep satisfying breath, inhaling all of her. Load-bearing sections responded to the new presence, and gladly made room. The entire structure cracked and creaked as it stretched and flexed, then settled, finally comfortable.

“Yes you do,” it replied. “A house loves to be lived in. Welcome home.”

.   .   .

Three years later…

One night, in the middle of its deepest part, the shadow companion returned to the renovated old house in the form of a familiar scent. The shadow took a silent tour, getting acquainted with every new room and space, and re-acquainted with some old familiar ones…

(The Emilie and the Strange(fill-in-the-blank) series will conclude tomorrow – I think. That is, if she allows it. She is in control, not me.)

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