A Storyby Charlotte Holmes
When my dad married Kerry, my mother said, “Well, Ben—there goes the house,” as if Kerry might have married him for just that reason. And when, not quite three years into their unlikely marriage, my dad died, he did leave the house to Kerry. She lived there with their baby daughter. That my dad left the house to her didn’t seem strange. I inherited the beach cottage in South Carolina—a whole bank account full of problems right there—and I had no use for a seventy-five-year-old fixer-upper in the middle of Pennsylvania. Though I was raised in the house, after my dad’s funeral I wasn’t sure I’d ever have cause to go back, and the idea didn’t trouble me.
But in June of the same year, my then girlfriend Mattie and I moved from Chicago to Brooklyn and stayed overnight at the house at Kerry’s invitation. About eighteen months later, Kerry accepted an offer from the university library to buy my dad’s papers. Mattie and I had broken up by then, and Kerry invited me for Thanksgiving, to look through the papers before the curator came to box everything up and remove it.