We live on the third floor of a house that stands between two streets, between two seasons, between the blood red foliage and the blues and grays above.

It’s an old house. And it’s alive.

The floor tells a story. It sagged, in places, with the weight of other people’s joys and troubles. It’s scratched where other people’s children played.

The windows tell a story. They isolate air between two layers, warning us that winter, here, requires preparations.

The staircase tells a story. We enter through the back door and go up up up the narrow staircase, round and round and round again. Closed doors dot our passage, and we know: this is a service staircase. This is where maids and menservants used to climb, carrying laundry baskets and food trays and chamberpots, entering and exiting through back doors.

Indispensable.

Invisible.

We follow in the footsteps of those long dead servants, up up up the stairs into our attic, that stands below a slanted ceiling and above the crimson trees.

I stand in my kitchen and the house is alive around me. I can almost feel it breathe.

A jay sometimes comes to my window to chirp at me. We both observe the world from our perch close to the sky.