While walking and checking out the variety of homes lining various streets within the confine of a specific neighborhood, I noticed that one particular house, a good-looking place, seemed dormant. A corner house. Front door facing south, garage on the west side. It’s a simple no-nonsense habitat. Light tan, maybe even a subtle yellow with white window frames and thick white shutters. A big tree near the front double doors protrudes, not only shading the grassy area but also the sidewalk. It’s the kind of tree you’d add a swing to. Small green trees are strategically planted in front of a big street-facing window, which adds to the home’s minimal design. As does the simple white gate next to the garage, allowing entrance into the backyard.
The thing that struck me as odd on this particular day was that it dawned on me that the place always looks ‘shut down’. As if no one lives there. Yet, someone maintains the landscape. I felt curious all of a sudden. Day after day I’d walk by, never stopping, and imagine what’s happening. Maybe the people were on an extended vacation. Maybe this home was their vacation spot and the house was just waiting for a visit from the owners.
Well, one day, about two months in, as I was walking by I heard voices in the backyard. ‘Yay!’ I thought. The house has opened up. And with that I walked on. But then, days-upon-days later, I noticed that whenever I passed the place and even though I heard the voices in the backyard, the house still seemed under-used, not lived in. Windows remained closed. Doors shut. Lights off.
I began to wonder if squatters had taken over. That they somehow figured out in the middle of this community, with lots of people milling about, that the no-nonsense home was theirs for the taking. And since the backyard was easy to access they could use the area for simply hanging out.
Days continued to pass.
One evening an older gentleman and a young kid walked out of the front door to retrieve the mail.
The man with his white hair, white beard, and very white skin was followed by a teenage kid wearing a dark green hoodie, his long hair dangling over one eye. Interestingly, with the front door propped open I (quickly) observed that it was dark inside. No lights. And window shades still drawn. Both occupants walked casually, the kid stopping halfway down the paved walkway while the man grabbed some letters. Then both re-entered the house. Door quietly closed.
Now I was even more curious.
Unfortunately, I never saw those two again, and the backyard voices were gone. The only visible clue that someone was around was a blue Saturn parked in the driveway. Daily.
At this point all I could do was wonder if something was amiss. Or, if possibly, I’ve created something that’s nothing.
2 days ago, I walked by the house and …
… the front and back doors were open – so was the gate, exposing a pristine backyard – and about 10 people were in the house. Not one of them was the white haired, white bearded, white skinned man or the teenage boy.
And then I see the car. Stenciled on its side was a company name. My eyes zoomed to the word INVESTIGATIVE.
I had to act cool. Seem like just another afternoon strolling down the avenue. Minding my own business. With some quick glances here and there I witnessed two guys discussing something inside the hall near the front door. One of them pointing up, down, to the left, to the right. At the same time two woman wearing masks exited the house, went to a car, pulled out some wipes, vigorous sanitized their hands, then walk back into the house. At the back door, people were talking, each holding a clipboard. And, I also noticed the blue Saturn parked at the curb.
I was thinking someone got busted (and I was right about squatters) or someone died – by homicide (I watch way too many murder mysteries!) So, I figured those people were either investigators or a cleanup crew. Discussing how best to deal with dishonest people or to clear the place of all the carnage.
I headed straight home and Googled the company name.
Home inspection. Nothing like what I was thinking, at all!! Instead, homes are ‘investigated’ and inspected when putting the place ‘on the market’, or something like that.
Yesterday, there was a twin mattress (no box spring) and a dark wooden bed frame on the grass near the curb.
That’s it. That’s all I know. And I probably will never ever get to the bottom of this human story or the crime I’ve created in my head. I will never know what the truth is. Who are/were those people seemingly using the backyard as a social place and/or living in a dark home?