A house of breathing music

[Dream] I went to stay at the house of a friend. We were kids, maybe teens, so it was the house of her parents really.

The place was magnificent– I thought. It was crowded and filled with things, and the areas to walk were narrow and had to be picked through carefully. Nowhere in the house was there a clear, open area for sitting on couches or watching televisions, for example, but I understood that all of the eccentricities and slight inconveniences were necessitated by aspects of the house that made it genius.

For example, there existed one whole large room (perhaps what was intended as a living or dining room when the house was built)– filled to groaning with wonderful, old, wheezing organs. All different sizes and shapes of these air-breathing beauties. Some had so many tiers of keys that my young hands couldn’t reach to the top. They all had many pedals, as well as modified tubes that the father had added or put in place of pedals– to create louder sounds, or just different-shaped sounds. He liked to play things like the Stones or Hendrix on them when the mood struck, so had tricked out a couple of them by adding these sort of hanging pipes which, when you wheedled them with your hand, made a sound not unlike a high-pitched electric guitar. It was fascinating! I barely made it past the first two of these many organs; all wooden and in varying degrees of decay- though every last one of them still made music of some kind.

As I improvised some wonky little tunes on one of them, the mother came through to find something in the room, and had to squeeze past me. It was at that time I noticed something really quirky about the place I’d never before really put to mind: its floors were canted at an angle more noticeable than anyplace I’d ever been in, save perhaps a carnival funhouse. I don’t mean a slight angle such as in an apartment where a ball on the floor always rolls to one corner– I mean these floors were severely tilted. At this same moment it dawned on me that her parents were likely not as well off as I’d always assumed. My young mind had put it together that they were wealthy because their house was so large and so ornately rambling –and in a part of town filled with other such houses– but at that moment I guessed they’d managed to get it for a relative song. Most people would not buy such a crooked home– certainly wouldn’t live in one without first having the floors righted. But here it’d been this way all the years they’d lived in it, and her father, with his inventions, had gone on introducing more oddities instead of ridding the place of the ones it came with. It made me appreciate them (and the strange house) all the more.

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