House on Wheels

It’s when it touches the guardrail that I realize it’s someone’s home. It doesn’t even scrape. Just a little bop to the corner of the front of it. And I think, that’s someone’s house — and they’re going to live in it and they’re never going to know that somewhere between towns, the person towing their house misjudged. And then I drive behind someone’s home for another twenty miles. 

A light fog dances over the road. Later today, everyone will declare winter over, spring sprung. In light of the occasion, we are all — all of us, every Vermonter — wearing the new dress we just bought, the one with short sleeves and airy fabric. The people who’ll live in the house won’t know this: the weather, the dress, or that somewhere between the school and the next town, the house travels alongside a brook teeming with melted snow barreling itself toward a bigger place. 

They won’t know the bumps we heave over as we curve through the mountains. Or how the potholes left behind from the months of ice give my tire a sickening thud when I forget to swerve around them. They won’t know that whoever is driving their house is getting more daring the longer this ride goes on, crossing the double yellow lines, or that at the bend near the cutout in the rocky wall, an 18 wheeler sounds its horn because the unruly house gets too close. 

The horn sounds like a foghorn; reminds me of the ocean, and then I wonder where this house is going. Whether the air will be salty once it’s a home, or whether it’ll be enveloped in fog on a March morning, on the day when winter is over, when all of them, every person who lives there, will wear the new dress they got, the one with the short sleeves and the airy fabric, because spring has sprung.


  • Lauren Harkawik is a Vermont-based essayist, journalist, and fiction writer. Her nonfiction has appeared in Autofocus, Salt Hill Journal, and Narratively.

  • Still from "Purple Noon" (French: "Plein soleil"; Italian: "Delitto in pieno sole"; also known as "Full Sun," "Blazing Sun," "Lust for Evil," and "Talented Mr. Ripley"), a 1960 crime thriller film directed by René Clément, loosely based on the 1955 novel The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith.