Empty Houses VIII (The Circle)

Our house was empty for three years. Empty houses have a rhythm. There are the things that come at night: The addicts that steal the wiring from the cellar, making repairs twice as hard. In our house’s case, the neighbors tried to deter them, wouldn’t lend them their wire cutters. But the guy went ahead…

Empty Houses VII (Renewal)

One night, a bare bulb shone in the window across the way. It glimmered out of the battered colonial, its clapboards shedding long strips of old white paint. The house had been empty for quite some time. I heard from one of the county tax assessors who lives nearby that everything inside was untouched: the…

Empty Houses, VI (Death)

The blond girl would rip merrily around town on her bike. She was pretty and svelte and deeply good natured. She loved to play with my kids. She acted much younger than her preteen years.  She was what my grandmother would have called simple.  I prayed for her, every time I said goodbye to her at the…

Empty Houses V (Divorce)

The only thing I know is that the guy apparently raised rabbits and there was a divorce. And what the neighbors say: He let it go to wrack and ruin purely out of spite. But that doesn’t explain why the trophies still glitter on the mantelpiece, even as the ceiling tiles and insulation droop over…

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…

Empty Houses, Part I (Opioids)

  The little pink house with the limestone wraparound porch has a wreath of fake flowers that’s been lolling around by the front door for months. There’s also a wooden cutout of a Canada goose with the words, “Welcome to our Home” scrawled on its belly, and a metal star made in China leaning against the…

The Idiot: My Russian TV Fail

It was a huge mistake to agree to be on Russian TV. I had many invitations extended to me when I worked as an editor of the opinion page at The Moscow Times, and most of them I accepted out of curiosity. But I should have politely declined when a producer for a certain talk…