The Right Address

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Emily Mitchell’s short story “Lucille’s House” appeared in NER 28.2:

“What were you waiting for?” Lucille asks when he gets to the top. 

“Well, I wasn’t sure this was the right address,” he says. “I didn’t want to go knocking on someone else’s front door in the middle of the night, scaring them half to death. What would you think if some strange black man came to your door in the middle of the night in this neighborhood . . .”

“I would think he probably needed a cup of coffee.”

“You know what I mean.”

“Sure, but I gave you the correct address, baby. I can see you’ve got it right there.” And indeed, he is holding the piece of paper she gave to the driver. It has the address written on it in her own handwriting. 

“I know. But, honestly . . .” he is looking past her now into the front hall. His eyes look like a child’s at Christmas before the presents are opened. “I didn’t believe that a house this nice was mine. Is it?” She sees that he is crying. He has never had a house of his own before, either. 

“It is,” she says. “It’s yours. I promise.”