home cold home

I guess I’m sentimental, but I like to see family pictures in a house. It feels homey. Not the professional photos in matching sweaters with everyone looking like they are smiling until their teeth are dry, but the silly, imperfect ones taken on a phone that they fell in love with enough to make it beyond its digital existence. Imagine that. 

This home has the latest school picture of each of the blond, blue-eyed boys looking rather forced to smile. There are a few small framed pictures of the couple, also blond, blue-eyed on a dresser in the master suite. Surprisingly relaxed and unpolished, they look coy and young. There are no other pictures of humans in the home. In most upper-crusty homes, the refrigerator is left utterly devoid of any silly pictures, magnets of various characters, fav comics, kids’ art, coupons, stained business cards. Their fridge looks more like the 2001: Space Odyssey monolith than the keeper of sustenance and comfort. 

I have no love for stainless steel appliances. The variety of finishes can make for awful fingerprint smudges and water stains that are hard to remove, and they scratch easily. There are different products to aid the annoyed cleaner, some even work. Enamel is this cleaner’s choice. Easy to make look great, no surprises, and practically indestructible. There are some fridge lines with fresh colors, and they always keep basic black and white, thankfully. 

The mom, Clelia, is wound tight, managing a forced smile when necessary. She is gracious and polite but with few words. This family has a sweet and relatively subdued large dog, Cairo, with long black hair that perpetually leaves his body. I’m there every single week for four hours as she wants as little trace of any living things as possible.

excerpt from Chapter 8 of Alexine Cleans

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