by David Armand
The crack appeared on their bedroom wall, the room where they fought almost every night. The crack was thin and crooked and looked more like a strand of dried-up horse hair. They tried to rub it off at first, not knowing it was a crack, but things around here wouldn’t be that easily fixed. So they ignored it.
The fissure widened slightly over the years, nothing terribly noticeable, but if you hadn’t been in the house for a while, it stood out to you. It got to where the crack reached from the baseboards all the way up to the ceiling. Then the bedroom door wouldn’t close all the way anymore, and it would creak open on its hinges in the middle of the night, and the children could better hear them fighting from down the hall. If they put one of their marbles on the floor, the marble would roll as if by its own volition. Something here was skewed, there was no doubt.
One day they called a repairman, someone who might be able to fix this. He came out to their house, dug around outside with a rusty shovel, then came back in and told them their foundation was sinking on one side. Eventually it would get worse, he told them. The ground would just swallow it up. They asked how much it would cost to have the house shored. He told them, but they couldn’t afford it. So the crack got bigger. You walked through the house now and it was like going downhill. Then one day it just all fell apart. It was sudden—just like that—and the family inside would never be the same again.
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David Armand teaches at Southeastern Louisiana University, where he also serves as associate editor for Louisiana Literature Press. In 2010, he won the George Garrett Fiction Prize for his first novel, The Pugilist’s Wife, which was published by Texas Review Press. His second novel, Harlow, was published by Texas Review Press in 2013. David’s third novel, The Gorge, was published on October 1, 2015, by Southeast Missouri State University Press. His chapbook, The Deep Woods, was published by Blue Horse Press; and his memoir, My Mother’s House, is forthcoming Spring 2016 from Texas Review Press.