I walked awhile until I came across a plain unlike most plains. There was a cottage in the clearing – of this I was certain – but there was also a mountainside upon which it rest and a dense bit of woods behind it. It was morning, and the sun painted an image of sunburst orange and blue trying to mix together like oil and water. I didn’t mind.
What a world I would give up to live in this cottage, I thought, as I set pace at the cottage to form an inquisition against the inhabitant. Step by step, wondering what I would say. How trivial – I thought, when I realized these things are best kept ad hoc – for the best questions are always the ones left unasked.
As I came across the cottage I noticed several things, chiefly among them was that the cut logs on the side of the house were overgrown with mold – no one had wanted to keep this house warm in years. There was also dust upon the doorsteps leading to the porch like an undisturbed lake – screaming about the stories of a bygone time with it’s misshapen steps, but welcoming like an old grandmother happy to see guests.
Creeks and moans whispered under my feet about my visit as I press on each step as I contemplated my decision with each successive move forward. As I stood on the porch I felt the wind in my hair and the dust upon my nose. I wondered for a split second if I should knock and push open the door.
I did not wonder for long though. Perhaps too long have I traveled The Road, too long have I knelt next to the streams and listened to the birds, had conversations with the crunch of the dirt beneath my feet, wondered in awe with the sky above my thoughts – now do I see upon the grounds immediately before me like I see upon the road ahead?
Long did I wonder, and long was my gaze as I stared at the door. I went ahead.
I knocked – there was, of course, no response. I pushed open the door and I swear that that door did scream like a quiet sonata as it came to screeching halt. I expected to see a family turn towards me as I opened the door, or perhaps an elderly, chair-bound man, but what I saw was much different.
Emptiness, like the great void above our heads in the night sky. Some furniture here and there, but no pictures, no landmarks. In fact, nothing to identify the previous owner.
I went into the kitchen, no grease upon the stove, no rust upon the oven, no wears left upon the counter-tops, just a snow globe in the corner of the room. The snow globe had a mountain in it that reminded me of my prior footsteps and a bygone time, but I stopped myself short didn’t think much of it.
I continued into what would have been the bedroom, but there was nothing in the room. Like the prior tenant lived, and left, without a trace.
Perhaps they left into the woods, you think? But the woods are dense, are dark at night, and are misleading during the day. They do not lend themselves to easy adventures.
It is, of course, easy to say that whoever stayed here, stayed with family. And by that, I mean, they had no family, at least not physically, but perhaps in mind. No family to stop you from wondering into the woods, no family to make you leave behind a trace – I think as I run my finger upon the mantle of the fireplace.
I thought this to be true, until I came across as dark room. The dark room had stuffs in it like it had been packed tight for a long voyage. Indeed, I had trouble navigating through the dark room because it was so packed.
A knight in armor here, a tea kettle set there. I felt unrest until I came across a photo album.
I then realized why the previous tenant had left in such a hasty manner. The photos told a sad story of love found and lost lost through consequence due to pure chance. Love abruptly ended, life lost. Even now, it is, tough to talk about.
Perhaps, that is what drew you here, you wonder. Perhaps, you needed to talk about these things. Perhaps, you’ve always needed to talk about these things. As always, it is tough to say. What you can say is that this photo album told a sad story of love and loss and the unwillingness to cope with a the reality of losing a piece of one’s self.
You walk back unto the porch and stop before you hit the screaming steps again. Before you set foot back upon the land you wonder – you wonder how long it will be until we realize our most important memories aren’t the ones we experience here and now, but the ones that transcend space and time.