in the House of Dreams
in a junkyard of falling stars and fed on a consummate diet of
strict poverty, this house is a mystery. Planted in 1922, it took
eight decades for the timbers to bloom. The texture of cascading
white sheets envelop the eyes as the half-open blinds, half-open
as if to tease the everpresent sunlight with a darkened grin of
deviltry, celebrate the dying
Shadows dance on the ashen face of Tisdale, the name that binds
this house of mystery, until they're beaten away by sight of the
rising moon. Elegantly placed wall sconces illuminate the grand
foyer, itself diminishing under the solid oak feet of a spiraling
staircase, strengthened by generations of weary souls that lived
and breathed and died on all three
of Tisdale's floors.
This magnificent old house appears at first glance to be an old
schooner, forever lost and still searching the open sea. Set out
on a journey to the world of the beyond, the world barely glimpsed
at in painting or in song, but irrevocably recognizable the first
time it hits you head-on.
The specters that roam the hallways are not ghostly souvenirs
of the macabre. Their distant footsteps betray requited love.
If one listens intently, you'll hear the faint melancholy sounds
of dueling grand pianos. The only evidence those two composers
in love ever once made this house a home.
The story of Sheridan's sword delicately hanging above the fireplace
in the study might be apocryphal indeed. However, truth is inconsequential
and mainly resides outside the French doors in this house of dreams.
The symmetrical but neglected English gardens, overwrought with
the hands of those now forgotten, reel in the Virginia countryside
while a wave of daffodils gently laps against their knees.
Yes, Tisdale is enshrouded with history, but does this lend to
its mystery? The mystery in the passionate embrace between the
living and the gone, the mystery of the swan that dies, without
The postage stamp cemetery, separated from the main house by two
modern house lots, speaks of "Edwards" and "Griffins"
within its tiny hedgerow fence. Nature's revenge has dealt the
cemetery a quaint overgrown charm. The tombstones dot the landscape
like little glistening teeth. Perpetually waiting to consume lost
souls as they wander through.
Herein lies the mystery of Tisdale, and herein the mystery ends.
The patrons are forever silent. Their voices carried off by history,
frightened by a world spiraling out into the stars.
Harrison studied neuroscience and philosophy at Baylor University
before moving to Charlottesville, Virginia where he worked as
an assistant editor at The Daily Progress. Recently, Ben
relocated back to his hometown of Enid, Oklahoma where he works
as a freelance writer and lives with his beautiful wife Traci
and son Austin. In addition to writing, painting, and general
philosophical musings, Ben can usually be found in the studio
playing live with his band Elastic