The ghostly image of Victor morphed into Janet in a white dress. “Come in and welcome,” she said, hugging me in the doorway. The dog, whose name was Scout, followed us in. I held my breath as I removed my shoes (a rule in Janet’s household) and glanced around. The house looked the same but different. Helen’s receptionist desk would have been there, to the left as one entered, but the desk had been removed and the area behind it was now an alcove with big cushions on the floor, a love seat, and bookshelves. What had been a waiting room was now a TV room with a couch and some of the same chairs as before. Further on, Victor’s study still had his name all over it, with the same books, furniture and pictures, but a pink sweater of Janet’s was flung over the desk chair, and framed photos of a very grave looking black woman, and a little girl in skating clothes, sat beside Janet’s computer. Down the hall, the exam room with the massage table I had lain on so many times was still the same. “I usually keep that door closed,” Janet said as we passed it.
And then the bedroom, Victor’s old bedroom that had been very spare and masculine, was now Janet’s with clothes flung everywhere, high heels and dresses strewn on the floor, a pile of makeup and costume jewelry on a vanity table she must’ve bought at a thrift store, along with a boudoir chair that would have been anathema to Victor who liked things plain and simple. Tall windows overlooked the backyard. I remembered having been in this room once before and seeing a planted garden through those windows, but Janet had put up curtains that closed off the view. “I get a little freaked out in here at night,” she told me.
She pulled open the curtains. I saw the same beautiful plants and flowers as from my previous visits, as well as a small glass shed that had served as Victor’s greenhouse. She pointed at the greenhouse. “That’s what frightens me. I swear I’ve heard voices coming from there at night.”
Well, that gave me goosebumps. I remembered the other Janet’s story of lying in the grass with Victor’s older brother, Roy, while their father’s green house in Dallas was being ransacked. “Let’s go out and take a closer look,” I suggested. “Have you been in there?”
She shook her head and told me the door was padlocked.
“Well, that’s not necessarily a problem. Come on, let’s go.”
To be continued…
Cover photo ~ https://rebeccaharp.com/category/visual-notations/on-my-own-art/page/3/