Anna had always imagined her father planting the marble table and quartered bench seats atop the hilltop like a flag.
“I claim this summit in the name of Tumbledore!” he would warn the surrounding coppice in her vision, scotch and water held over his heart.
Tucking her flaxen hair behind her ears, a habit Anna had picked up abroad, which absolutely appalled her mother, she sat on the tended lawn besded the table drawing her skirt (worn this visit for her mother’s sake), modestly into the arch of her bare summer legs.
Martins swooped and tittered in the fading June light, boomerang silhouettes that seemed spit from the darkening woods, piled like black thunderheads beyond her parent’s home. It was her parent’s home. Her's for a while, maybe, but had she had the option, Anna would have chosen something less sensible, less austere. Something built of wood, rather than cold, cut limestone. Something with fish scale shingles, tiny windows that peeked in to mysteriously wasteful spaces, and a single chimney, rather than the six atop her parent’s leveled roof, dormant now as winter trees.
She would have looked up one day, too, trudging back through knee-deep snow, perhaps from a barn where she had just carried buckets of warm water to fussing livestock. Looked up and seen above the snow-clad eaves and glistening shingles, a curl of smoke rising languid from that sole flue. She would have stopped. Tears would have filled her eyes. For in that glance, she would have felt her mother’s every warm embrace, heard the husky voice of her father reading her safely to sleep, cherished that single gift, handcrafted for her birthday; a thousand such things that make, as they say, a house a home. Had she the option.