Even if mother couldn't always tell, the house somehow seemed to know whenever we played truant. Mouth open in disapproval, eyes staring at us in contempt, it was like a stern matron who ran a very tight ship. And the trouble was we couldn't talk to mother about it because that would have meant revealing the secrets of how we skived off school.
As we grew older, the house took it upon itself to express its opinions on the friends we brought home. Suffice it to say none of our friends received a warm welcome by the house, most were scared stiff by its severe bearing.
But it was only years later, when mother fell ill and we were compelled us to spend more time within the confines of the house to nurse her, that we began to pay attention to the goings-on within the four walls. Unexplained noises, the nocturnal rattlings of the roof and windows, stuff moved about in the din of the night.
And so when the queer little place was finally bequeathed to me, I jumped at the opportunity to put it up for sale and promptly moved to the city, hoping to find a girlfriend and start a new life.
They don't have houses here in the city. Too little space and too little time on people's hands to care for sprawling mansions. Living spaces are all tiny enclosures of glass and steel, cozy little chunks of air neatly fitted one on top of another like indistinguishable building blocks. Unexplained noises in the attic are now replaced with the less distressing sounds of neighbours' quarrels and rompings.
The house has not been sold yet, not one interested buyer in the last five decades, which is hardly surprising. It has gone to rack and ruin now. My children sometimes pester me to let them have a look at it but I am afraid what secrets the grubby old place would tell them about me.