This Last House ~ #002 March 2014 – Haiga/Haibun for #FWF Free Write Friday: Image Prompt
One Last Day
even on the days i remember. something terrifies me. slightly. haunts me. a little. thrills and excites me. greatly.
we parked around a bend. the yellow car hidden from the road by overgrown bushes. mock orange.
walking in low excited voices we explain to each other about this house. neither of us had stopped. although we’d often noted it as we serpentined up the river to swim or fish or explore. we’d both wanted to explore these houses. old houses intrigued us. wondering about the state of the interior. a peek in a window or two. the story of these abandoned houses along the river.
the stone and cement steps were stable. the porch itself i was not so sure about. i stepped lightly.
the door was locked. the windows on the porch were intact. yet so dusty i could not have seen inside even if the drapes were open. the drapes were thin. gauze. simple. starting to fall apart with time. i stepped back. listening to the sound of wood and nails too long left to the elements.
the second floor intrigued me. from the first floor porch i could look out over the river. deep. moving fast in a way that looks slow. broiling with no rapids. wide. powerful. a thick steely gray. like the sky on these last days of winter into early spring. everything being swept away. the view year round from that second floor balcony must have been awing.
she did not go beyond the stone steps. she turned to poke around near a basement window. i walked to the back of the house. leaving her discoveries to her own explorations.
a cracked window here. a sliver missing. a slight breeze moving the curtain side to side. i could see through blurred edges when i bent close. the last people here must have been in a hurry to get out. debris on the floor. some of it looked useful. or might have been useful at one time. a few pieces of tarnished silver. visible through the doorway of a kitchen. on the worn. cracked and peeling. linoleum floor. a print or map on the wall. tilted sideways. the frame hanging from one nail with rusted wire. the dying wind settled the curtain in front of my view. i picked up a twig. it was too big to push the curtain away through the broken window.
i wandered on. around the far side of the house. back toward the front. she wasn’t there. i moved to the other side again. still no sign of her. slanted doors that led to steps going down to the cellar were open to the sky now. they had been closed on my first trip around the house. the padlock was missing. i heard the scrape of stone on stone as i approached. a glass or jar breaking. the sharp intake of breath.
she quickly appeared at the bottom of the steps.
she looked pale as she glanced up from the entrance to the cellar. was she pale? or was it the light?
“let’s leave.” she said. her head down. as she came up the stairs with care. on edge. in a hurry. under tension.
“what’s down there?” i asked.
“nothing.” her reply. her head still down. as she walked away.
? i tilted my head in question.
she half turned. and repeated, “let’s go. i want to go. home.” she picked her way intently down the slope. not stopping. till we reached the car.
on the ride back she spoke in single words. if at all. she stared out the side window. at the sky. eventually conversation stopped.
within a year her hair began to turn white.
i wonder to this day what she discovered. or saw.
for a time i thought maybe she wanted to bring someone else there to see what she had uncovered. i knew there was someone else. she married him. that thought lingered for years. although the marriage ended within a short time. maybe a year or two.
i continue to wonder. occasionally i drive by on the road below the house. when i return. the house continues to fall apart. i doubt that i’ve seen her more than half a dozen times in the decades since that last day. sometimes her eyes acknowledge mine. sometimes not. although she always seems to pale in my presence. and i wonder. again.
a map to the universe
slips from my hand
- 8 x 12 Inches @ 300 ppi
- Epson Scanner
- Perfect Effects 8
- Photoshop Elements 12