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10 or so. She did not add to it, only he did. She spoke of things she wanted, new furniture, new carpets, a new kitchen, after the debt was made manageable, say around the 5,000 mark. It never got to that mark. She never got what she wanted. She never got the house she wanted, either. They lived in his inherited three-bedroom 1 ½ bath on a half lot, three streets back from the railroad and four streets away from the storefront. Convenient for him, and remodeling of the rooms and the baths and the adding of a garage he thought sufficient upgrades. The kids went to adequate schools and had adequate friends to prepare them for another generation of the business and the town. But she spoke of Victorian farmhouses in mountain settings, two or three stories with five to ten acres, fences, woods and rivers. She knew the burdens of maintaining such a property, accepted his common sense arguments about isolation and distance from customers and stores and familiar schools and teachers. Still, she looked at pictures. He did not understand, until shortly before paying the equity, that there was permanence in land and Victorian farmhouses, an assurance she craved. Carl stood in the twilight at the end of the driveway and looked at the house, no longer an instrument of debt, but a standing accusation. He had arranged their lives inclusive for him, exclusive of her. He had flanked her possibilities, put his son on a narrow road, loped off his daughter's hopes. He groped, again, for his soul, thinking the equity payoff would surface it, but there was too much mud. More dredging required. "What are you doing?" his son asked, horrified, when Carl put up the For Sale sign. "I can't afford to live here anymore," he said. "What? What are you talking about?" Alarm, his alarm, Carl knew, taught to his son over the past 28 years whenever - 16 -

The Fine Line Issue 3  

The Fine Line presents its third compilation of art, fiction and poetry by contributors Francis Raven, Michael Young, Dorothee Lang, Raj Sha...