Settling by Maris Depers
Maris Depers is a Psychologist from Wollongong, NSW. His poetry and short stories have appeared in Kindling III and One Page Literary Magazine.
“Look at that crack!” my wife says with surprise, pointing at a jagged line where the wall once met the cornice.
“Yeah, I know,” I mutter and then, in an exasperated tone I hope she doesn’t pick up, add that it’s been there for months.
I just couldn’t help myself.
At the moment I’m trying. I’m trying in the way my father always told me I can be, so I’m trying to keep my mouth shut at times like this. I’m also trying to understand how she hasn’t noticed the yawning cracks that are appearing everywhere of late. But mostly I’m just trying to keep things together.
Anyone who has dealt with subsidence knows that once those cracks appear the uncertainty and sleepless nights start. And once the process starts its progress is difficult to stop.
I look up at the crack resembling a tear through the crisp white paint we chose five years ago wondering if it was always under there and we just overlooked it when we rubbed the walls back, excited to be in our own home. Whether it had been hiding deep in the walls all along, waiting with the patience of cancer.
“I just don’t come in here that often,” she says, a new found concern painted across her expression.
“It’s because it’s been so dry,” I attempt to explain “Everything’s shifting and moving. It might close up again if it rains”
But who knows when that might be? It’s getting harder and harder to predict the weather these days. Some fragile balance seems to be tipping and nothing seems the same as it was before. Summers are longer, winters drier and the bad storms are more frequent and damaging than ever.
“Is our house falling down?” she asks slowly, her tone moving from concern to fear, causing me to look up from the washing pile.
“I don’t know,” I answer genuinely, “I don’t know”.