bustedsneakersIt would take hundreds of thousands of dollars to repair, and at a 4.5hr drive away, it's pretty tough to get to - close to Harvest festival, twice as surreal. I don't think I'd want to disturb it. Quite unprompted, my guest referred to it as a mausoleum, but she's not the first, and I don't think the last. It's a literal thing, a gingerbread house decorated in candy, ripped from the pages of one of the more unpleasant fairy tales. It's so strange to return somewhere and find out that you weren't making it up at all: it was true.
Things Found At Family Cottage, in No Particular Order:
- The spider in the bathtub has been there for, at minimum, seventeen years.
- There is a third edition printing, sans dustcover, of Charles Addams' "Homebodies," source material of the Addams Family.
- Every Agatha Christie book pretty much ever.
- Also Wyndham.
- Also Gormenghast but that was expected after even ten seconds.
- A copy of a book called "The Necrophiles."
- Fading but still serviceable paintings in what I think of as German/Black Forest style of Ontario wildflowers, in jewel tones on black, on every flat surface. Tables, curtain-covers, shutters, doors, and then the colours are expanded into rugs of thunderbirds. I remember quite liking the thunderbird rugs, enough to later have a mild bias towards Neil Gaiman when he wrote about them.
- The bedrooms are untouchable, populated with twin beds and flickering, low-wattage bulbs which against all expectations actually do make the shadows worse. Neither myself nor my guest will go downstairs after dark. We almost instantly pull all our things into the main room.
All in all, the weekend was fine, but Sand Lake gives me the creeps. The lake is far more developed than it was when I was a child and my grandfather had given empty lots to my father and all his siblings, which ensured no-one could build anything at all. It technically sleeps ten, but in reality, I spent the night on my great-aunt's couch, superstitiously trusting her against the dark. The building is built into a hill, and it is impossible to escape the faint sense that something is about to creep up on you. A bear. Something. The book collection encourages this way of thinking, so we spent most of our time on the rock that juts into the lake, forming a beautiful natural pier.
We spent the entire time having the most intense conversations ever, but I couldn't get the smell or the lurking memories out of my head. The building is well on its way to decay - I remember the last time my grandmother painted it, when I was five or seven or something, but it was already showing signs of unwellness by the time I was eleven.