The House Across the Street

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December 22, 2022 by The Citron Review

by Sacha Bissonnette


My wife thinks that bad things happen in the house across the street. She’s told me I need to watch the neighbors over there. I’ve told her that if she is truly worried to do something about it, but my wife isn’t always the type of person to do things. She often just states them aloud, and hopes or waits for the world to change around her. I’m unsure if it’s a bad house with bad people in it, or if it’s just like any old house you may find on any street like our own. A modest home just thirty minutes out from any city center in Middle America.  

It’s an old house in a certain state of disrepair, but that’s not unlike a few other homes on our block. Some people were hit pretty bad this time and haven’t got around to fixing their roof or painting their porches over, or properly reattaching their gutters. Some people were hit pretty bad. 

The only time I ever paid any attention to the house across the street was the night of the storm. It was strange that they weren’t boarded up like the rest of us – we’re in a hurricane zone, we get about four a year. Why we haven’t moved yet, well, I’m entirely unsure. 

After the storm had passed and I finished picking up the last shards of my broken car window, I could hear children playing nearby. It was late, dark and still raining, but I could make out that they were the children from the house across street. A girl and a boy, playing with what looked like a downed power line. As I approached, they ran back inside. I’m not the type of person to judge a parent when I’m not one myself. Silly kids, I thought, that I could once relate to. Since that day, and because of wife’s earliest convictions, I’ve watched the kids from across the street a little more closely. I’m comfortable in my government job since it’s seldom too busy, and I work at home. All that to say I have so much free time that I don’t know what to do with it. 

I report back to my wife every evening that so far, there is nothing wrong. Absolutely no evidence of the things that plague the low to middle class. No money issues – they have a new car. No overdrinking – Every week I peer into their recycle bin as I walk by. The parents run together every morning at six and the girl holds the boy’s hand as they wait for the school bus at seven. It reminds me to call my sister. I haven’t in a long time. Sometimes the parents argue, and sometimes it escalates into a longer fight. But then he comes home with chocolates. The ones she likes. Two nights ago, I noticed the master bedroom light on, long after the babysitter was sent home. 

Come to think of it, since the storm their house has started to look better too. The grass is cut and fresh. A rose bush seemed to pop out of their garden overnight, with full pink roses that look like they’re always dewy and breathing. And when the wife left for work this morning, her husband kissed her so passionately I could almost feel it on my lips. He even dipped her so low that her black leather briefcase brushed the front step.

This evening I’d report more. I was excited to tell my wife all the beautiful things I saw from across the street. To prove her wrong. When we sat down for dinner, I paused the TV to ask her why she thought bad things happen in the house across the street. 

As a single tear dropped off her mouth she said she never thought bad things happen there. She just wanted me to look.


Sacha Bissonnette is an Afro-Trinidadian, French Canadian short story writer from Ottawa, Canada. He is a reader for the Wigleaf Top 50 series. He was nominated for Best Small Fictions 2021 and was longlisted for Wigleaf Top 50 2021. His work has appeared in Wigleaf, Litro UK, Lunch Ticket, SmokeLong Quarterly, The Maine Review, The Emerson Review, Cease, Cows, among other places. He has upcoming short fiction in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, Ruminate, BULL and



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