by Morgan L. Ventura
CW/TW: Family trauma
$272,105 3 2.5
Property for Sale Zillow Estimate | Beds | Baths | 1,484 Sq. Ft.
25058 Mulloy Street Built: 1975
Addison, IL 90101
Status: Closed Sale +$56,000 since sold on October 5, 2020
Shall I present to you the usual insincere patter vendors proclaim to the prospective buyer? That this is a home of great value: “Gaze upon its spacious kitchen, the large living room and parlor with soaring ceilings, skylights, and expansive patio. Great for entertainment! Perfect for a family of four or five.” Yet in all of its warm capaciousness, the hearth is empty, hollowed out, a husk of a house. The fireplace and chimney of angular granulated stone groans as you walk by, for this single structure – of stone upon aching stone – recounts every argument, every trial of those who once lived here. Yes, including you.
This is the multi-layered site of your childhood, your adolescence, your transition to full-throttled adulthood, which rests upon the unceded territory of the Council of the Three Fires. Your grandfather carelessly joked that the house is on ancient burial ground, but all houses are burial grounds, sedimentations of times, condensations of lives. Which is to say, abundant temporalities reside within the architecture of the home itself, as well as the land upon which it sits. Condensing so many junctures and rites of passage, there is a palpable threat of memory overload or complete emotional breakdown. After all, it is dangerous for so many different times – and feelings – to dwell in one place together.
About This Home
Wooden floors creak not from age or the weight of your gait, but from longing. But just you wait! If you turn to the kitchen, you can commune with the ghost of your grandmother, who, as you recall, foresaw her own death when she called your uncle one January evening to ask why she was in the hospital nine months before she set foot in one. Nine months and four days before she died.
If you head to the “Green Room,” the small corner room that once served as your grandmother’s personal TV room, you can re-watch Saturday morning cartoons on the spectral boxed television from 1988. You can only just begin to sense the privilege of your mother and your uncle, the latter who has done right by you, the former who hid and denied her privilege, determined to not pass it on to her children. They came from a home with multiple television sets, expensive cars, and carefully tended gardens. College – and plastic surgery – were both paid for. Yet despite any uncomfortable sentiments, it is also a room of adoration; there he is, your grandfather, sleeping in his favorite armchair, before he wakes up to take you to lunch in order to celebrate your admission to graduate school. This is a good memory, but be careful turning the corner and digging deeper.
In the living room and parlor, be aware that the wallpaper sings a number of tales, and the shadow of a very Catholic Christmas tree, replete with Baby Jesus Nativity scene, appears as an antique hologram or elaborate apparition. If you are a visionary or a member of the Catholic Church, it would be difficult to distinguish whether this is a haunting or resurrection. If you observe the hologram for longer periods of time, you will see your brother try to eat the cotton snow of the Nativity scene and the look on your face when your grandparents bought you a Nintendo 64. Watch, too, as your mother once again turns your father away from the door after you had been waiting all week to see him. You know you will not see him for another 11 years, and then another 12. His novel’s pages blister in the fireplace as your mother sips chianti; she took his words for wood and twisted them aflame.
Rather than the walls having eyes, they have ears. The skeleton encasing the ghosts of your past listens to your words and reads your thoughts with body organs hidden behind the crumbling, aging wallpaper. You may suspect the brain governing this home resides in the attic, high above mortals as any system of law should be, but the attic is, instead, a monument to technical obsolescence; there are landlines, televisions, and kitchen appliances and not a book in sight. The heart of the house is – now, where did you leave it? It always disappears.
Status: C̶l̶o̶s̶e̶d̶ ̶S̶a̶l̶e̶ Stolen Property Type: Crypt Community: Dispossessed
Lot Size: 9,583 Sq. Ft. MLS#: Numbers are inappropriate in this realm
Above you, as you sit at the base of the stairs, are the three bedrooms, which you love and despise. You love these rooms because your grandparents gave them to you; you despise these rooms because they remind you of how their daughter tore you away from them. Another ghost lives in the closet of the bedroom your brother and you shared; do not open it, no matter what you hear. Your grandparents’ room smells golden like your grandfather’s musky cologne and Sicilian skin. A three-foot tall bronze statue of a giraffe remains here; contained within are memories of the wild prints your grandmother donned and trips to the zoo. Your mother’s room conjures up Victorian lace, rose, and poison. When you sit on the bed, you remember that before you moved in that one afternoon in 1993, an older woman slept in the bed – your Great Nonna.
Back downstairs, adjacent to a second spectral television, sits a second green couch. This is Great Nonna’s throne, who will sit by you and kiss both your cheeks whenever you want – or don’t. She died here, chained forever to this house, another spectral accoutrement to this complicated familial assemblage that grows ever more unwieldy. She keeps asking you if your mother gave you what she’d left you – a hand-drawn astrological chart with life advice and predictions, and a letter stating how you truly are a beautiful baby. She knows this because “[y]our grandfather only speaks the truth.” You know you can only answer her in the negative, but she is a ghost, and ghosts are located betwixt and between, exemplars of a twisted, temporal arrangement. Great Nonna will repeat forever, and you will watch the tears fall from those violet eyes who pierced you even when you did not know the difference between one iris and the next.
Going to the basement is an otherworldly task. It is the proverbial portal to layer upon layer of memories and their associated emotions. The phantoms downstairs are playful yet despondent. The lemon tree erupting from the tiled floor is an invocation. Dating back to the 1960s, newspaper clippings about the Teamsters and your grandfather’s unionizing efforts festoon the wooden walls and enliven his office in the corner, which can never be expunged. This is where he prefers to stay for most of the day; he will build ships in bottles for eternity, regaling you with his life’s triumphs and trials. The other half of the basement requires a more liturgical intervention. Christmas ornaments and Halloween decorations once dwelled inside the crawlspace, but now it is a dark, damp, and voracious tube waiting to consume bodies and souls. You can turn on the lightbulb, but you will not like the face of the demon – the same scarlet shade as your mother’s favorite matte lipstick – that stares back at you, nor the chilled echo of her voice. It is clear your grandparents knew the truth about your mother and attempted to trap her anger here once before. But the disembodied voice is still embodied in the woman living three hours north who abandoned your grandmother at the hospital on the eve before her death. “Ungrateful,” declares your grandmother from the kitchen, and the smell of fried eggplant wafts through the air. “She shall take nothing from the estate, but all of my love.”
There is so much love in every surface, every chair, bed, and table; every stone, every tile, every shingle. But you cannot exorcise the ghosts who are bound here by both their earthly affection and despair. You can return here if you’d like, but phantasmal pasta and salad will not satisfy you, nor will lingering with the grief of an impossible otherworldly embrace.
That realm beyond the tattered veil.
Local Legal Protections
You don’t possess any rights except to the estate. You will testify in court against your mother, who contests every promise of your grandparents’ will for eternity.
Cost of Home Ownership
$̶1̶,̶1̶5̶2̶ ̶p̶e̶r̶ ̶m̶o̶n̶t̶h̶ Immeasurable
̶3̶0̶ ̶y̶e̶a̶r̶ ̶f̶i̶x̶e̶d̶,̶ ̶3̶.̶5̶%̶ ̶i̶n̶t̶e̶r̶e̶s̶t̶ There is no interest, only endless therapy sessions on Erie Street.
You could save up to $47 per month by refinancing. Or, you could save yourself. Leave and never come back. This is one house that will never give up its ghosts.
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