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I'll build myself a house I can live in.

It's easy. I need these long ones for the base and the fat little square ones can be the corners, just there. Try some of the thin pieces and let's see if I can make a window happen without it falling in.

No? Well, I can use these square ones again and make a lumpy house with gaps for windows - all windows are different, after all. And then I have to think about the roof. Every house needs a roof.

Gripping the wide pieces - I only have two of those - I try to set them atop the rest and then it might look like somewhere I could live, or pretend to live. Tip them too far and they fall, drop too fast and they take the rest of the house apart. It takes dexterity to set them slowly and carefully on top of those square blocks I had to use because the other ones didn't seem to stay together.

Almost finished and it occurs to me this house has only one low storey and owes a lot to early man, if he had been able to paint everything he used in bright primaries. (Maybe he did and it all wore off between now and then?)

Bonus, though. My house turns out to be the sort you can use to reach the top shelf, or sit on if you have unexpected visitors and are brave enough to let them in. My short-wall house with a flat roof speaks of a steady need to make it safe, a small structure big enough for one and only wide enough for a modest door.

Little-me could live in there. The walls are a wonderful mix of colours, and washable; the windows never need cleaning because they are open to the strange, giantish world of Living Room. The door, simply a gap, might bother me. I need a door.

And ever so, ever-so carefully, I take up this other piece that wouldn't fit anywhere else and slide it, standing and proud, into the gap where a door belongs. Little-me, inside the made-up house, gets to look out of the window and pretend the door is part of the wall, a way to make an entrance or exit if I really need it, a barrier between me and the world.

Drawn to the colours and the smooth, tactile feel of wooden blocks meant for playtime. I am over the disappointment of not having the roof I thought I needed, or the right windows. The hard bricks are set gently, once I find out which ones I need.

My little house is all me, every brick laid there with care and consideration of how it will sit and whether it will stay in place. My house is solid, with parts missing I couldn't manage to fit or make work; it is full of colour and exists inside another, bigger house, where grown-up me pretends to live.


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