December 7, 2008

Into Darkness

The roofs, 2008.

Himself: He’s still sleeping as I write this.

Herself: Got the presents boxed but no tags or ribbons. Nightmares. Allergies too….scratch, scratch. Today we stay home as the world showers around us and make the holiday cards. Writing this all out lightens me up.

Balance: The beautiful blue of the sky yesterday against the depth of the sea.
I woke around 0230 this morning all hot and sweaty filled with bad dreams. Our windows are closed in anticipation of rain, and my dear G radiates heat as if he was an oven on high. Ever since I had that strange virus in the seventies, I don’t do well with heat.

Rather than toss and turn and wake my oven up, I’ve come into the computer room to play with my dark house photographs. They are not very successful conveying neither the mold and sadness nor the feeling of the obvious party home it once was. I carefully took images of the sea from the windows, but the camera didn’t capture that far away strip of powerful blue seen from the darkened rooms.

It’s the first time I have come to a house like this with camera in hand. It was good to know that she had donated art and collectibles to the museums in the park. It’s good to see this personal hodgepodge of a home and record even bits of it. I left with my breathing stopped and saddened memories of a unique life well led.

“She lived alone for many years after he died,” said one person in the check out line.

Alone meant that the paths grew padded with leaves and the pine needles thickened to a blanket on the roofs. The pool, down the hill and around the corner, was drained, and the steps to the office cottage had crumbled. The many patio layers shrank as the plants grew wild about them, and the potted plants dried up and died.

Outside, obviously ruined things were piled up near a wall of the half office half sunroom. Inside the mold covered the glass around the Jacuzzi and grew into the books in nearby rooms. Even the gold paint and gold fabrics on the dining room walls couldn’t lighten the darkness. Food was stuck to dishes in the windowless kitchen, and the sugar bowls still were still filled with raw sugar as they sat for sale on the dining room table. The tiny rooms downstairs needed to be aired before we could enter, and the bigger rooms upstairs told the story of a second floor that had been added to an old beach cottage.

I woke once last night thinking of my mother, thinking of the past rather than the now, and understanding why she married her third husband Bob. I often wondered why she put up with his cruelties….and he was cruel to her both physically and mentally. I often wondered why she so strongly altered her life to be with this gay man with his many gay friends and many parties.

He married her for her money. She married him so she wouldn’t be alone in the darkness as she aged. Perceptions of life change as we grow older. Perhaps this house wasn't so seemingly dark when the owners were alive to imbue it with life.


  1. What an amazing story. You really hooked me on this one. Thank you.

  2. I think one of the nicest things about growing older ourselves is that we're of the temperament to remember others without judging, and better understand the whys and wherefores of lives led. That was a wonderful story of a house with nobody in it, a wonderful metaphor.


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Peter in front of a wall sculpture.      Peter in front of a wall sculpture. We were invited up to Peter Knego’s home...