“When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.”
It was silent inside the house.
Outside, the raindrops danced on pavement, dripped down the gutters, splashed in puddles.
She hated the cold, quiet house. There were no old house settling creaks to be made out, no heater kicking in since the power had been turned off, no water rushing through pipes in the walls, or even the sound of a mouse or two scurrying across the bare floors. If it weren’t for the rain, she would believe she had gone deaf.
Three days of packing and sorting and tossing. And now it was finally done. The boxes had all been either donated or taken to the dump. The curtains had been taken by her sister, the piano and its ivory keys by her mother, the rug from the entryway by her cousin. Each family member had taken some memento. And now everyone had gone to their respective homes, and she was the only one who remained.
She shivered as she stood, finally hearing the creak of wood beneath her feet and finding comfort in the noise. She was comforted by the sound of her steps in the hallway, how they echoed in each empty room as she observed and inspected and tried to stop remembering how it had looked furnished and decorated the way Beatrice had liked it.
Beatrice was gone, and so were her things. And Lizzie, her granddaughter, had chosen to take nothing from the house as her family members divvied up what they thought might be of value, or what they could use in their own homes.
Io the room that had been her grandmother’s, tucked in the corner of the walk-in closet that had once held an astounding number of clothes from several decades of life, Lizzie found a small Leica that she didn’t recognize. It had to be from the 20s or 30s, she was sure of it. A layer of dust guarded the viewfinder and the film was used up. Lizzie wondered how it could have possibly been missed during the cleaning out of Beatrice’s home.
She slipped the small camera into the pocket of her hoodie and left the house. She locked the door and hurried into her car as quickly as she could. She set the camera on the seat next to her and stared at it for a moment, wondering if the film was still good and if she’d be able to have it developed. She’d never even owned a film camera. As she drove away from the house and towards her small apartment, Lizzie wondered what secrets of Beatrice’s she might find hidden inside the small black box beside her.