For Flashback Friday: The Window Upstairs

First Published on June, 23-2021

Reprinted for Fandango’s Flashback Friday

Vilhelm Hammershøi

I wanted to tell you a story about the empty rooms in the house next door to where I live.

I wanted to tell you the name of the daughter who did unthinkable things to her family and when the police arrested her, they asked her why she did those awful deeds and then made her family dinner, like always, and set the table with fresh linens, flowers from the garden out back and why did set the table with  her mother’s best bone china and why did she put on her prettiest dress and then take her seat and ate her meal- like always.

She had peach cobbler for dessert.

I wanted to tell you that the Devil made her do it. that her boyfriend talked her into it that there was something wrong with her brain and that someone did unspeakable things to her as a child and that is why she did those terrible things.

But none of that was true. She was as normal and predictable as you or the lady who made you coffee at the Espresso stand this morning. It’s a mystery to us all  where the idea to murder her entire family came from.

I can tell you she used to look out of the window on the top floor of her house and from her floor she could look down into my backyard. She used to watch me garden late at night. She used to watch me dig and turn the earth with deadly efficiency and grim determination.

Sometimes she waved at me and sometimes I waved back.

And sometimes she just watched me dig.

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