Sunday, August 30, 2015

That place, revisited

Since I wrote about that abandoned nursing home, it's been on my mind, when usually it ain't. Like I said, it's normally just a couple of times a year that I even go by that place, but I went by there again tonight. I went by there, not on purpose... at least, not knowingly... and this time I realize that I've never actually been down there close to it.

I had almost passed it when I realized that, because I was walking and all, and thinking about other things, but I did realize it... so I turn around and walked back to the beginning of the parking lot of that nursing home, and I walked down that slope.

I don't know what I expect to find down there. I say that now of course, because I don't remember exactly what it was that I expected to find, but I know it's something, or else I wouldn't have gone down there. And I found something. It was like... you know the feeling of anticipation of a thing that you get, before the actual feeling of the thing? The expectation, verses the reality? That's what happened. The real version of what I was expecting actually happened.

Oh and by the way, if what I've written seems disjointed, it's because I've been doing a lot of the realizing as I've been doing the writing. And as I've remembered it, geez... it's just an awful pain in the ass to go back and edit it into a consistent tense or whatever. Sorry about that. So. Back to it. I went down the slope..

I went down there, and it's all in shadows. Is first person past tense okay? I went down there, and as soon as I was down there, well... I realized that I was down there. That was a thing in itself, you know? I guess it was kind of a 'had to've been there' moment. First, when I got down there...

OK, stop! I went down there, OK? Can we establish that and continue, please? In an orderly fashion? Without all this frikin' exposition? Sorry, but sometimes I go back and read what I've written...

OK! Just assume I'm down there, waiting for future guy to describe what is happening.

So there I am... I mean, there he was... I mean, there I was! Dammit! There I was, at the bottom of the slope. I was in shadows, and I was afraid that somebody would see me down there. I was thinking about what I'd say, if somebody called me on what I was doing. That worried me a little, so I crouched down and clumseled along on my ankles and into the proper shadows of the place.

There was this fountain of a cherub, firstly. That's the first thing I saw, right after I crouched down, and it scared the crap outta me. Once I'd shuffled on into the shadows all the way, I stood up and went on past the cherubim and into this alcove, which was a part of the building proper. It was kind of a room, with walls, but no ceiling... like a little tiny courtyard. There was an ice chest, and some stacked boxes, and a couple of full trash bags. There was also a painted sign with an arrow, pointing 'this way to machine shop'. There was also a closed door, with a screen door that was opened a little bit.

I noticed all of this as I stood in one of the dark corners of that alcove. After about five minutes I went up to that closed door, and just for a second... geez, so much can happen in just a second... I thought about opening it. Whatever it took to open that door, that's what I gave a disproportionate amount of thought to. Getting it open, and going inside.

Well, turns out I'm not as stupid as I thought I might be,, and dangit, I ain't crazy enough either. So I creeped out of that little alcove and just walked along the front of that place in the parking lot, like a normal person. Like that was a normal thing to do.

I forgot an important thing... an important part of this experience to relate, and part of the alcove experience, too. The smell. The smell was the most important part of the whole thing! I didn't mention it, because... geez, it just ain't something you would normally try to put into words, but it was the biggest part of this experience. I can't believe I forgot about it.

Down there in that alcove, there was this old, musty smell. It wasn't bad. It wasn't nasty or repellent, but it was still, somehow... not right. It was that attractive, stagnant smell type of feeling. The awake version of my dreams... the smell version of the comfortable hell. Damn, I can't believe that happened. It was an old, familiar musty smell of it all, and I was wide awake and in the middle of it. It smelled like my childhood. It's weird, trying to explain it, but I'm sure that it will make sense later.

It was a mostly dead smell, and it had so many memories in it. I can't believe that my life has been long enough that I can recognize the smell of death in things, the dead smell of things, the attractive smell of death, old and dead, that old smell... I can't believe I know that smell. I guess I just never knew what to call it.

I kept waking past the front of that building. That's where I was... did you forget that's where I was? I almost did. At that abandoned nursing home that I'd finally scraped up the balls to actually visit. I was walking along the length of the front of it. I also forgot what I was doing. There's no way I can possibly describe all of it, really... I just have to continue like it was normal, I guess.

This next part, geez. I feel like such a dumb klutz for remembering it like this, but confession is all about being honest. I was very close to the actual building, and suddenly I realized that it was older, oh so much older than I'd thought. Up close I could see how the brickwork was cracked and deteriorating, and that there were vines growing all over everything. Things I'd never noticed from the road, a hundred feet away.

The rooms were all there, right there, right in my face, just so close, closer than I ever imagined I'd see them. Glass window fronts, ceiling to floor, and inside... I dunno how to describe it. The thing, and the feeling. Empty book shelves. Empty floors. Clearly delineated shadows. Tiles. Patterns. Wood grains. Long shifting lines. Those things, and emptiness. I'd never realized before, just how much emptiness a dim light could reveal.

I dunno what else to say. That's what I did tonight, that's what I did.

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