|Photo by Crosby Doe|
I'd become friends with the family: a father and mother, now old; a son and daughter, now grown. I was spending my days and nights with them at the house, going through all the furnishings and housewares, everything they'd accumulated over the course of their lives, right down to the decades-old cocktail dresses and suits and ties in the closets, helping them decide what would stay and what would go.
I'd never been inside a home so elegant or complex, so filled with small passages and hidden spaces. Every day it seemed that I discovered something new. It was easy to get lost in it. I could understand why it was so difficult for them to leave.
These were our final days in the house and I was free to take almost anything I wanted. Everything in it was original, though not all of it was in good shape.
On one of our last afternoons together we sat in a sun-filled room, laughing about the things they'd hung on to all those years. Who would want their children's old cribs, upholstered in vinyl? The wooden bench of no importance with its chipped paint? All those overgrown houseplants? There was still so much to do but no more time to think about it.
We grew quiet and somehow all came to the same wordless decision: We'd leave the house as-is, the windows open, the doors unlocked, and allow nature to take its course.