“I tell you, that was a crazy week. Like I say, I don’t know why the color red bothered my dad so much;
maybe there’s a story in that too, but all I know is that my dad started climbing the walls.
It took everything he had to open the front door in the morning and go to work, because the morning sunlight would lie on the walls of that red house and make it look like a four-alarm fire. And in the evening, the setting sunset lit it aflame from another direction. People started driving along Accardo Street–tourists, yet!–just to take a look at the gaudy thing!
Dad double-locked the doors and pulled the shades as if he thought the red house might rip itself off its foundations at night and come rattling across the street after him. Dad said he couldn’t breathe when he looked at that house, the awful red color stole the breath right out of his lungs, and he started going to bed early at night with the radio tuned to a baseball game and blaring right beside his head.
But in the dark, when there was no more noise from the room where my mom and dad slept in their separate beds, I sometimes unlocked the front door and went out on the porch to stand in the steamy night. I wouldn’t dare tell my mom or dad, but… I liked the red house. I mean, it looked like an island of life in a gray sea.
For a hundred years there had been only gray houses on Accardo Street, all of them exactly the same, not a nail or a joint different. And now this.
I didn’t know why, but I was about to find out in a big way.
… I heard my mom and dad talking out there. His voice was loud, but I couldn’t make out what he was
saying; then, gradually, his voice settled down. I lay on my bed and stared at a crack in the ceiling that I’d
seen a million times. And I wondered why I’d never tried to patch it up in all those years. I wasn’t a kid
anymore; I was right on the edge of being a man. No, I hadn’t patched that crack because I was waiting for
somebody else to do it, and it was never going to get done that way.”
—The Red House by Robert McCammon-from his excellent collection BLUE WORLD. I highly recommend the audio book:Something Passed by: Stories from Blue World