Monday, June 22, 2009
The sky is huge, an enormous canvas of blue that seems both far away and close enough to grab the couple of white puffy clouds that decorate its blueness. For miles and miles, there are rolling hillsides covered in yellow and brown grass. Twisted oak trees and small mounds of low growing green shrubs populate the hillsides. The landscape is empty, no powerlines, no cows, no houses, just the soft contours of earth and green speckles of umbrage. Tucked in the contours of the hills, on a naturally level space, is a kidney shaped pool. Carved into the lawn of cultivated green grass, the pool is outlined with walls of cement and filled with crystal clear blue water. The water sparkles with diamonds of light as sun meets with wind-induced ripples. It is completely clean, except for the fact that all the leaves of the nearby maple, the tree that hangs over the pool like a green umbrella, have been swept into the pool. All the dead leaves are in a single line in the center, they vibrate slightly with a touch of wind, but they stay clumped together in linear formation. On the lawn, there are a dozen people spread out in groups of two and three. They lounge and sun on top of colorful beach towels, their skin is golden in the light. The women wear designer white bikinis and large-lensed sunglasses. The men, with firm chests and hard stomachs, recline on their sides, turning themselves to the women they address. Twenty steps from the pool is a ramshackle house. The roof, made of wooden shingles that have turned black, is slightly concave, heavy with an accumulation of old rain water and rotten leaves. A wooden porch by the old front door has long ago been lost to termites, only a thick banister covered in small holes remains. There is a black hole in one of the walls to the right of the decimated porch, the hole is just large enough for a human head to peer through. Inside and directly behind the hole, is an old bathroom. The white tiles that cover the floor and the walls are dusty and covered in a fine black soot. There is a hose attached to the wall and a couple old metal knobs that used to serve as a shower. Beyond the bathroom, not separated by any wall, is an old kitchen. It too, is very dusty. The cabinets are off white, nearly brown. The fixtures on the drawers and the sink are covered in orange rust. There are white and blue tiles that decorate the countertop. Cobwebs hang in every corner. Pale light filters in through dirty windows which face the north, the sun beats through the weathered grime and settles into the room.