Empty Houses, Part IV (Foreclosure)

The craftsman bungalow seems to have fallen behind some bank’s filing cabinet somewhere. It’s stuck in limbo.

It’s a cute house: Dark hardwood floors and original woodwork, old-school windows, big two-story garage. A wicker love seat lists to one side next to a pile of decaying phone books. Inside, if you look past the WINTERIZED sign, you can see a welter of garbage bags, curtains, filthy clothes, and stuffed animals. It’s all damp; the tarp someone tacked on the roof is long gone.

Someone left in a hurry. They just didn’t bother with the rest.

Bizarrely, we tried to buy it, long before we ever ended up moving to this little town. Some pastor owned it and was selling it himself. We called the number on his little sign. He never called us back. Someone else bought it.

Though there’s a little slide and climber by the big tree, now taken over by Virginia creeper and poison ivy, the girl who lived there used to spend all her days on the playground down the street. Back then, it was just a set of swings, more or less. I don’t know why she was there; her mother was home all the time. This made a lot of people in our town wary.

Or so says the old man who rides around our town in a little golf cart emblazoned with his last name. He would know, I guess, though his stories are often really hard to follow. He’ll insist some local boys broke an air conditioner by pissing on it. I mean, it’s possible, sure.

They lost the house. They left. Now it’s empty and forgotten. The county doesn’t seem to realize it was foreclosed on. Whoever owns it doesn’t even know they own it. So it rots.

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