setting
Index was once a small and close-knit community, but the town located on the western side of Washington state has grown in recent years beyond anyone's expectations. It is the ideal place for those who work in Seattle but can't afford the city's high real estate prices, and for others the natural beauty attracts them to the town. And Index truly is a beautiful place - surrounded by thick evergreen trees, tall mountains and glistening rivers and lakes. While weather is typically rainy with overcast skies even this does nothing to take away from the beauty of the town, and it is only highlighted further when the heavy snow graces the town and caps the mountains in winter. To many, Index would seem like a paradise. And yet lurking beneath this visual beauty there is more to this town than anyone might ever imagine...

Current Time in Index, Washington:
rules
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 Full of things that have never been [CLOSED]

Full of things that have never been [CLOSED]

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So this is it.


A new chapter in the ever-lengthening volume of my un-life. Honestly, I hadn't anticipated that the last chapter would end so abruptly but as I had ought to know good and well by this time, all things must come to an end at some point. Even first loves, I suppose. But that's neither here nor there at the moment. Best to put it out of my mind for the time being and forge ahead.


The exterior matches the photos sent by my real estate agent; a lovely little three story row house in the style of a Brooklyn brownstone and in excellent condition despite its age. The restoration was thorough and beautifully done; I was looking forward to seeing the interior if this view was any indication of what might lie in store within. I climb the concrete steps and fit key to lock, my nerves singing with excitement at the meaning behind these actions. The door swings open and I step into my new life.


I flick on the lights, not because I need them to see but in order to appreciate the way the light plays over the colors and furnishings. Also, the neighbors might think me strange to arrive in the middle of the evening and not turn on a single bulb.


The movers and decorator were worth the expense; everything is exactly as I had hoped. Undamaged and situated comfortably, pleasingly. I run a hand over the polished in-lay of wood atop the small table that decorates my modest foyer, drop the keys into the prayer bowl upon it and take a moment to enjoy the chime it creates in the otherwise quiet home. Just above, in the mirror between two sets of empty coat hooks, my reflection stares back at me.



Home. This is home now. For the past few decades, even when I was traveling abroad, the Manor had been my home. Even now, I'm certain, it would welcome me back with open arms. But not an open heart. And home is where the heart is, even if it doesn't beat. The reflection grimaces and I move on.


The polished wood glows warm beneath subdued lighting as I explore this alien space filled with my familiar belongings, the foyer giving way to a parlor. The bay window which faces the street is outfitted with an inviting window seat, my still chest nevertheless fluttering with excitement for a moment as the memory of books bathed in sunlight rises to the fore. I can read just as well in moonlight now, but oh, to have that joy again! The walls are lined with those volumes I have enjoyed over the years, many still in their originial bindings, and yet the space does not feel weighted by them. It remains airy and inviting and I make a note to mention this specifically to the decorator in praise. The upholstery on the arm chairs and the large ottoman serving as a table between them matches that of the window seat and it is quite fine.

(no streaming daylight of course, but you get the idea)


An archway delivers me into the dining room, so beautifully appointed that I feel it is almost a shame that it should go so often unused. Perhaps over time as I begin to know my neighbors and make acquaintances I could give it the attention it deserves by hosting a few dinner parties. I do enjoy hosting company and the large table simply begs to be laid with delicacies. I can almost smell the wine and the flowers and hear the conversations now as a warm smile turns the corners of my mouth. Yes. This shall have to be. Moving on through the doorway just to the side of the buffet, the view into the kitchen only serves to steel my conviction in the matter; it is a Fairyland of polished stainless steel and granite, glass and wood. Simply stunning, even for one who does not cook.


There is a pantry, large and already stocked with containers of pasta and jars of pickles and capers and jam, rice and sugar and flour and cans of tuna fish in oil. Things that will never spoil and that I will never consume. I assured them that I could shop for my own fresh foods, a necessary lie to those who still walk in sunlight and would note the lack of concern over a requirement of living that has almost become fetishized in the past few decades. A small door, tucked in what seems the space below the foyer stairs, must lead to the cellar.



The laundry is as one would expect, and I don't linger there. Where I might wax poetic on food and even bitterly, jealously, about those who still require its nourishment, I have no fondness for laundry. Rather than looking out the door here which exits into the alley behind the houses or into the powder room discreetly tucked away, I ascend this smaller spiral staircase to the second floor and the rooms meant for my own private enjoyment.


I am delivered by the wending stair into my office to note with satisfaction that the boxes labeled “Do Not Open” had remained intact. The items within are of a sensitive nature and to the uninitiated could prove incendiary or even deadly. Some would kill for the information and relics in my possession; but then, some of the information and relics in my possession are quite capable of killing all on their own thank-you-very-much. I would unpack these last few parcels on my own, later, and fill the empty spaces in my shelves with my own personal volumes of journals from days gone by. For the moment I had more to see.



From the office door I looked down the hall to the stairs that come up from the foyer, two doors on each side, all but one standing open. An inquiring peek revealed this to be a linen closet, the scent of cedar and lavender still lingering even after I shut the door. Glances in the others revealed a bathroom, a guest bed, and the master suite. Between them I pause, poised to turn while a tooth presses into the fullness of my bottom lip in indecision. Explore properly right now, inspect the rooms, or just let the process wait and see my own bedroom? It was a terribly long flight in...


Deciding that residence here would offer me plenty of opportunity to properly assess bathroom fixtures and how the bed linens coordinated with the rest of the guest room décor, I entered the master suite and almost immediately sighed with pleasure. Gentle grey pervaded, accented with white and bursts of lively color in the form of dandelion yellow and turquoise. Everything about the room spoke of lightness and romance and comfort; I amended the note to the designer to include a gratuity. But, before I became too comfortable there was the small matter of the window treatment. I don't mean the draperies, but an actual treatment to the glass itself: a film to render it impermeable to light. Any malicious or even well-meaning intruder who might seek to disturb my sleep with sunlight had better bring along a heavy-duty scraper and removal chemical.


Lovely; in place as it should be. I would sleep easier knowing that this particular protection was in order. More often than not during my travels I have not had the luxury of a space to literally go to ground when the sun would rise. However, this inconvenience has led to my preference now for a proper bedchamber and room to spread out a bit, never mind being able to avoid the dank odors and often drab accoutrements that came with what I feel now is a passe way for getting by from sunup to sundown. Modern conveniences are such a wonder.

   
(imagine more color and less natural light here for me)

Only when I kick off the Louboutins and allow my toes to wriggle into the decadently soft white rug do I feel myself ease into the space completely. This place is my sanctuary, my comfort, and I am deeply pleased by all it has to offer. No more of the old-fashioned and overtly feminine space that I occupied before; no more of the grand halls and formal spaces of the manor. No more of the servants, and especially, especially no butlers. This place was all mine, just for my own sole enjoyment. I keep repeating this to myself as my blazer, followed by blouse and skirt, find their way to the low tufted bench at the foot of the bed and try to reconcile the feeling of pride and independence with a gnawing loneliness that I didn't dare acknowledge lest it grow more prominent for the recognition. I had been alone for decades before and enjoyed myself greatly; I simply needed to get back into the habit of it.


This bathroom! I could wall myself into this bathroom and exist happily until the end of my days. Luxurious is a term which does the space no justice. It is a veritable confection of porcelain and glass, the colors complimenting my bedchamber and calling to mind pebbled beaches shrouded in mist. There is both a walk-in shower and a soaking tub and it is into the latter that I begin to run hot water. A selection of the decanters of oils and jars of salts is made and thrown into the steaming tub. My hair is already up, no need to pin it higher, so all my reflection in the nearly wall-size mirror above the sink and vanity must do is shed the last of its garments before slipping into the lavender-and-honey scented water. With the briefest of glances to the closet door, I do just that.



#Closed #Solo
Now. Now I am home.

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