Betty and Lyle came a long way. 7 hours to be exact. It was a small town with a little gas station on the corner and a market that took 3 minutes down a long dirt road to get to. The fields were treeless made endless with the scorching sun that created a mirage-like haze across the distance. The radio was turned up loud on the way into the town. But now that they started seeing residentials, Betty turned it down trying not to disturb the eerily quiet environment. No kids playing on the street. A rusty truck would turn up every 30 minutes or so.
“How much longer?”
“I think 20 minutes.”
“For such an empty town, it seems like a very long drive to get through.” Betty chuckled. She was busy knitting something. Lyle was pretty sure that whatever it was made no use here. It was at least 90 degrees out.
“I’m very hopeful! Susan told me all about the town. It’s small, yes, but I think it’ll be a great area to start a family. And my parents are only 2 hours out.”
“Yes dear. But let’s just wait to see the house first.” Lyle tried to mirror her enthusiasm.
Soon, they pulled up to the dirt drive way. In the distance they could see the house. A faded blue with off-white shutters. The porch slumped to one side, probably from the effect of rainy season. The detached garage, or rather, shed, was not positioned parallel, but instead at an awkward angle that made the dirt road swerve slightly to connect to its entrance.
“Isn’t it charming? I’m so excited to see the inside! And will you just take a look at all these acres?”
Lyle mustered a smile to satisfy his wife. He was optimistic but skeptical. Maybe the walk through will brighten up the prospective.
Betty skipped up to the front porch. Suddenly, missing a step, she fell and scrapped her elbow on the top step.
“Whoa! Are you ok?” Lyle ran and helped her up. “Look at your shin!” Her right shin was red and bleeding. She held her elbow in her hand.
“What just happened?” Betty laughed through the throbbing pain. “I am too excited.”
“Your eyes are watery. Are you really ok?” Lyle grimaced. He wiped the blood away with the long sleeves of his shirt and put a little pressure on the area.
“Yes, I’m fine. I really want to see the house!” Lyle adored her optimism. It kept him going. They sat there for a few moments assessing the odd situation.
“Let’s just be careful of the steps from now on.” He gave an encouraging smile and took her hand to help guide her up the rest of the steps.
The door handle was once gold. Now the paint was chipped so it seemed like gold flecks instead. With the key in the lock, the door didn’t budge until Lyle gave it a firm nudge with his shoulder.
“That needs oiling.” He observed.
As their eyes adjusted to the dim lighting, the living room came into view. The only light was streaming in through the kitchen window at the back of the house. The settled dust dispersed in the light as they softly walked along the creaky wooden floors.
“Look how big this living room is! Look at that fire place; I didn’t even know there would be one.” She walked over and felt the bricks. “This is original, doesn’t get better than that.” She turned and smiled at him. He again mustered a smile. It took a little bit of a push from his head to take another step.
“An air purifier in the corner would help this situation, wouldn’t it?” He chuckled and she nodded in agreement.
“After it’s all cleaned, can you imagine how beautiful it’ll look? It’s got a lot of character and charm. It’s exactly what we wanted.” She trailed off into the kitchen.
Lyle stood in the dusty sunlight for a few moments. His wife was happy. This place can’t be too bad, right? If he could just use a little imagination, it might turn out better than what he was thinking.
“Lyle, come in here!” Betty yelled from the kitchen. As Lyle entered through the rounded entrance, he saw Betty crouched on her knees peering under the kitchen sink.
“It’s leaking.” She looked up at him and pointed to the sink pipes. “My father always told me to check the pipes when looking at a new house.”
“Well, this isn’t exactly a new house.” He let out a breath of exasperation as he knelt down on his knees. “Let me take a look see.” It was certainly leaking. The water trailed down the side of the white pipe and puddled on the floor of the cabinet.
“Here. Wipe the water with this.” Betty extracted paper towels from the holder that was installed on the wall next to the sink. “The owners probably knew we were going to need these.” She chuckled. Lyle sopped up the water with the thick paper towels and left it there to soak up the remaining water leaking from the pipes. He turned the valve of the cold and hot water switches.
“That should do for now. I’ll call the plumber.” As he stood up, Lyle let out a sigh.
“It’s alright, dear. It’s just a minor fix. Here let’s go see the back yard!” She grabbed his arm and tugged him along towards the back door located next to a window that was a tad too small for the kitchen.