Dark, shutters closed long ago, wood rotting and jagged, nails bent and rusty
Waiting to snag the reckless
The smell of despair and disrepair
Air as still as a mausoleum
Furniture crouching silently – waiting patiently for yesterday
Pale images a reminder of that which once was
Color faded, movement stilled, light dimmed, love lost
Sitting silently in the darkness, longing for escape
Memories stale, recall slowly scrubbed away by the ages
Time indistinguishable in the preternatural fog that filters through careless cracks
Sunken eyes shift towards a mirror, gazing into eternity
A crack appears in a corner and a razor of light splits the blackness, blade of light cutting through the dust
Outstretched hand tracing the beam to its source, touching the crack
The facade dissolves
Brilliant mirror shattering, a deluge of fire spills in
Chairs, tables, furnishings circling madly, vortex violently devouring all
Liquid incandescence lovingly embracing every door, every rafter, every chair
Fire scours away all that has gone wrong
Flames recede, taking all secrets with them
The house is no more
I am Free
Yesterday has returned
I begin to walk
The last people who lived on our property left in the late 1950’s.
We’ve narrowed the time down by going through their trash.
Back then, people who lived away from town dumped their garbage on their own property away from the house.
When we first found bottles laying on an embankment near our trailer, we excitedly set to work sifting through the dirt and piles of garbage. We pulled out bottles, cans, car parts, broken cookware, the first TV dinner trays, and other stuff dating to the early 1920’s.
We noted, through the artifacts we uncovered, the evolution of man’s refuse from heavy iron objects meant to last a lifetime to the beginning of the disposable age of cartridges filled with replaceable razor blades, the TV Dinner trays, and old tubes of toothpaste and Preparation H (hemorrhoids are nothing new, after all).
Holding someone else’s possessions in my hands after so many years left me wondering what their former owners were like. Of course they did dishes, cooked, cleaned, cried, laughed, drank, and read books……all of the things we do today but was the culture different? I’m sure their leisure time was spent much differently with the exception of some old standbys Endcap Entertainment.
The land passed through a succession of owners but no one saw fit to stay here for sixty years – to care about the place. It sat quietly waiting with only the deer, the ants, the trees, rocks, and soil to occupy it’s time.
But these family’s stories have been preserved, ironically, in the things they cared least about at the time they were left behind. An egg beater thrown near the base of a young tree is disappearing into decades of its growth.
Tin cans, rusted into scraps, litter the slope. Parts of machinery that held up better under the gentle onslaught of time, still insist they are useful.
Salad forks, spoons, lamp bases, marbles, and can openers lay encased in the dirt inches below the soil. Protected from the elements, souvenirs from Japan, a hand poured heart made of lead, vases and every other type of thing a family would use during the early to mid-twentieth century stayed behind when they moved. I wouldn’t think of taking my trash with me, either. 🙂
One day, I found a bracelet bearing the name Tommy Best, tossed down the hillside with the rest of the trash. Why, I wondered? I called him and asked: Blast From The Past.
With every mundane object or broken keepsake we unearthed, I wondered what the family might think of us happily digging up what they threw out after dinner one night in 1945?
Would the lady of the house mind that I polished up her can opener and was using it again for the first time in sixty years? I bet she wouldn’t.
I wouldn’t mind if I was a ghost.
PS As I was finishing the editing on this post, a cupboard door in my kitchen quietly opened by itself. I really wonder if they’re watching now.
Inspired when the inside of our trailer froze last year.
Cold By Linda Jordan
Stealing along a darkened road; it’s path crooked
Fleeting around trees, leaves shivering in its wake, grass frozen mid-bow in homage
Inspecting, watchful, it’s purpose clear
A lone traveler comes; hungry for warmth
A house in the darkness; to the porch, peeking into windows; a door ajar
Cold sees an opportunity
Leaning in like a party guest offering unwanted advice, seizing the moment to enter
Quickly occupying every nook and cranny; nesting, rooting,
Inching forward through every carelessly cracked window, down every open chimney flue
Seeping along the floor, hugging corners
Inspecting cupboards, trying on boots and gloves
Filling closets and testing bed sheets; searching
Halting in a darkened corner, cold utters a sigh; glittery breath frosting windows in the vacant night
Uninvited visitor, unwelcome guest in the quiet
Faintly, the sound of voices tug at the fringes of its weary consciousness;
Lights flicker on interrupting its blue reverie; the rising sound of laughter assaults it’s crude senses
Suddenly feeling exposed, resolve melting, Cold hurriedly gathers it’s things, shoulder’s its frosty rucksack, and dissolves into the baseboards and walls, hiding
Whispering down halls, tendrils collecting its belongings along the way, cold escapes out the door as a warm body enters, door shut rudely at it’s back
Indignant and disheveled, Cold collects itself, shrugs its pack into place, and starts once again down the road trailing winter behind it