Anita Mechler: The House in the Fog, Part 1

It’s not that Eunice enjoyed the thought of ghosts, but rather that she wished more than anything to be haunted by her ex-lover in their special hideaway in the foggy woods of the countryside. She met Louisa at her job at the bank where she worked as a teller supervisor. They were introduced to each other by their boss, Louisa strode in with that special masculine swagger of hers and Eunice shifted shyly when their eyes met over the counter. Within a week, they had begun a ritual of meeting up at the office kitchen in order to have an afternoon tea. Every time she was around Louisa, Eunice was keenly aware of the way her own clothes hung on her body, the itch of her pantyhose, the unevenness of her left heel and the breath that transpired between them as if it were a wintry night in the middle of that cubicle wasteland.

They happened upon the house in the woods on one of their weekend camping trips, several weeks after their casual office encounters. Louisa always said how she loved to escape the “insanity” of the city. She would say wistfully, “You can take the girl out of the farm, but not the farm out of the girl.” Eunice loved to imagine a young Louisa, wearing dark blue overalls with lighter hair and a smaller wry smile, but it was difficult for her to imagine anything girlish about Louisa.

The house stood alone, deep in a forest of thinning, black, leafless trees. Eunice had gasped at first sight. It seemed to jump away from the stark contrast of the fog that surrounded it. She automatically searched for Louisa’s hand and found it warm and comforting as if it had always been there, full of life-pumping blood against her palm.

“Don’t you just love it?”, Louisa said with lit eyes. Eunice still felt a bit nervous as if they had walked in on a secret, their voices hushed by the cocoon around them.

It must have reminded Louisa of her youth with its proud white clapboard facade and barn-like slanted roof. It even held a touch of nostalgia for Eunice in its simple front door, matched on either side by identically-sized windows on both the first and second floors. She felt Louisa’s hand squeeze hers and then let go as they approached the house, as if in a trance.

“It seems that no one is at home,” Eunice said, finally feeling brave enough to speak louder than a whisper.

“Or has been for a long, long time,” finished Louisa.

They both looked into the windows on the 1st floor, through the sheer curtains of the kitchen, white-lace caked with about a decade of gray dust. They could see the faint outline of an upright piano in the living room and a covered chandelier in the formal dining room. This time it was Louisa who reached for Eunice’s hand and they both knew what she was thinking.

“I wonder if it’s for sale.”

[This piece was inspired by the photographic work of Kilian Schönberger discovered here. His photograph is below]


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