HEARTH

Amy and David were excited by their new HEARTH home. An enhanced home had always seemed out of reach, so when they heard about “50% OFF” this January – making it as cheap as a regular home – they jumped at the chance.

They knew that they were the man and woman of each other’s dreams, and their next step was making a home together. But everything was so expensive – how could young people afford anything these days? Well they could if they were happy to live in debt for 30 years. David said that they shouldn’t have a mortgage. He invoked the symbolism of Jesus upturning the money changers’ tables at the Temple. People didn’t realize that everyone borrowing money simply meant that everyone had more money available, and supply and demand – basic economics – ensured that prices went up. So ultimately, borrowing money was worthless. In fact, with inflation, it was less than worthless.

They used their savings to buy a plot of land, and lived in an RV there for three years. Their house fund built up quickly, and they were set to self-build, so visited the Ideal Home Show for ideas. That’s where they saw the HEARTH home.

“Darling, let’s go in there,” Amy had said. “I like the look of it.”

“Doesn’t that one look better?” said David, pointing to a glassy structure with pronounced, angled timbers, which gave the effect of ascending and expanding.

“It looks like the Transparent Temple’s unwanted child.” said Amy. “You know what happened to the budget of our beloved community centre. Let’s not go there.”

“I just don’t see the attraction?” said David. “It looks like a shiny black box to me; hardly West Coast architecture.”

“Darling, I’m drawn to it,” said Amy. “Can we go see?”

They were dazzled by their walk around the HEARTH home, and booked a full demo at the City factory, which was followed by a bubbly sales lunch. This was where the salesman had mentioned the “50% OFF” promotion for “selected customers” like them. The only condition was that they had to choose from an existing model. They were allowed minor modifications, but no structural changes, or they would be back to “50% ON”.

Amy and David were the first people in the Village to own a HEARTH home. They required a month to lay the foundations and get utilities primed. The HEARTH home was delivered on the Monday after. Its components came on four tractor trailers, and the eight-man construction crew completed it by Friday.

They were told to stay out for the weekend to allow adhesives, paints, and varnishes to cure. The HEARTH home would require a further month of commissioning, giving time for the structure to settle. “There will be thumps, cracks, snaps, creaks, ooh’s and aah’s,” said the salesman by video call. “The house needs to get to know you. It needs to understand your physical movements, and your personal behaviour. Our structural work is the easy part. It is the house that does all the hard work.” He beamed hugely. So many teeth, thought Amy. “It is filled with components that you’ll never see – there are heat, sound, respiration, odour, electromagnetic, and tension sensors, plus as a bonus to my favourite customers I’ve authorized ECG and EEG feedback loops, that pick up your heartbeats and thoughts, which become the house’s heartbeat and thoughts. Can you hear them?”

“The sensors pick up our thoughts?” said David. “How do they do that?”

“I don’t understand the details myself,” said the salesman. “Only the principles. Once your personal pattern is established, the house identifies key emotional stages of your desired outcome, and then works through them progressively. It’s all very subtle though, very natural. You won’t even know. In Ancient Persia, every house had a hearth at its centre, a holy place for offering sacrifices and prayers. This is what we have recreated in this modern house. You are its hearth.”

Even within its first few days, the house functioned beautifully. Rooms lit up as they approached them; just the right music played; beautiful fragrances created delight; micro-cleaners didn’t allow a speck of dust or a stain to remain; the water’s temperature was perfect always, both in the kitchen sink and in the bath. The HEARTH home ensured that their dinners were awesome, their conversations sublime, their yoga divine, their work productive, and their sex out of this world.

The HEARTH home never got in their way. It took them to where they wanted to be, and left them to continue alone. “Darling, this is perfect,” said Amy. “This is how I wanted our life to be.”

“I guess you were right about the house,” said David. “It’s helped us to become more ourselves.” He kissed her passionately, causing classical guitars to play, and roses to scent the room. “Our neighbour’s houses have taken over their lives. They live for their houses. They spend their weeks working to pay their mortgage, and their weekends scrubbing and fixing them. Here we can just be ourselves.”

But one day they had a silly argument about cheese. Amy said that it was still alive, and David said it wasn’t. And because it was a silly argument, the house didn’t know how to behave. Rather than reason, its response was passion. Red colours flashed, whisky smells filled room corners, rap music thumped harder, the air became hotter and steamier, and chilli tastes heightened their emotional disharmony into physical distress. Amy grabbed the cutlery nearby. The HEARTH house played The Ride of the Valkyries, and she became a winged maiden choosing slain warriors. “God help us!” cried David. Both his and their home’s heartbeats stopped together.

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6 Responses to “HEARTH”

  1. Beautiful. But no place for a vote! – – –
    Seeking perfection, sending an email

  2. I often use the stars to vote, but for some reason in the case of the HEARTH the stars were not there, hence my comment. They have now appeared, so I have voted.

  3. I noticed this morning with ANYTHING ELSE that at first the stars were not there. Later in the loading of the page they popped up.
    —- a dial-up delay artefact

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