Teri just wanted to take a short drive, to clear her head, with no destination in mind. It came as a surprise to her when she come across familiar roads and realized she knew exactly where she was. There, right in front of her, was the farmhouse. She could hardly believe her eyes.
It had been about 35 years since she was first in that house. She had never met the person who lived there then. It looked as empty now as it did back then.
That was so long ago, but her memory raced back to that cold winter night , when she was taken by the hand of a man so charming, that he was dangerous. He had brought her to the house just a few weeks after their first date.
He had led her through the dark yard towards the house. He told her that the house belonged to his cousin, but that no one lived there, at the time. She never questioned him. Somehow, he knew a secret passageway to get in. Being young, naive and evidently adventurous, Teri followed him.
She would have followed him anywhere.
He went straight to a small door from under the porch.They walked hand in hand across the dirt floor of the basement and up some very narrow dirt steps. They came to the door of the main house, that she believed came out in the kitchen, details were somewhat sketchy after all this time.
The only other thing that she recalled about that night, is that there was a huge bed with an old-fashioned feather mattress on it. The bed sat under a large curtainless window. They lay side by side, on those feathers and stared out into the sky. Not one thought entered her mind about them trespassing into someone’s house. Her only thoughts were, that there seemed to be a billion stars out that night and everything was as it should be. They talked for hours about what they wanted out of life. It all seemed so simple. She wanted a feather bed and him. At that time, her list was complete.
Teri had many memories of the next few years. Many wonderful memories that seemed to outweigh the bad. They had experienced many adventures and dreams together. It was a magical time that defined how she would perceive love for the rest of her life.
After all this time, here she was again forced to relive the good and the bad of a love affair that had cut her to the bone.
Everything eventually came crashing down and it started to disinergrate right here in this house. The same house where she thought all of her dreams had started to coming true.
Things were slowly falling apart. The lies were catching up with him. He was having doubts and it was showing. But he kept telling her that they would be together, forever.
He had told her that he was living with his “cousin” in a farmhouse, yes, the same one, and that it wouldn’t be long before they could live together as a family.
“Just be patient”, he had told her over and over. She wanted to believe him so badly.
In the meantime, she had went through some tragic events with her family and her nerves were shot. Her doctor had prescribed, her first of many, antidepressants. Or, as they were called back then, mood elevators.
Well, her mood elevators acted like a shot of courage or maybe, stupidity, whichever way you look at it. Once they were in her system, her personality started to change.
She was tired of being patient. She was tired of being second on his list. She no longer wanted to sit back and wait for him. She decided that she would just go get him. Simple!
So, one morning, with her head buzzing from the meds and lack of sleep, she came off of working a night shift and she had not heard from him in 3 days. That was very unusual for even him, he was so good at covering all of his bases.
As she drove. she hoped so desperately, that she would find him just where he had said he was, at the farmhouse, living with his cousin.
She was excited as she gained her courage and thought that her idea was a great one! Why hadn’t she done this sooner?
This would only be her second visit to the house and she wasn’t even sure she could find it.
Somehow, she remembered all the roads to turn on and after a little while, she pulled into the dirt driveway, not even trying to be quite. No reason to sneak up on him, right? She didn’t see his vehicle but it could have been anywhere, in the barn or garage?
She walked up on the porch and knocked on the door.
She called out his name, no answer. But, she could sense someone was there.. but no one came to the door. She knocked very loudly several times. maybe he was still asleep?
All of sudden she felt like a cartoon character, (good meds) where a lightbulb appears above their head when they have an idea? A little voice said “I have a brilliant idea. Let’s go through the secret passageway!”
Another voice somewhere should have been saying “Are you crazy, or just stupid?”
That voice should have told her that she could have been arrested for trespassing or breaking and entering.
That voice should have told her that she could have been shot or stabbed.
But that voice didn’t show up that morning.
The only voice that she heard was the “mood elevated” voice. “Ah, go ahead, you are almost family. Or will be soon” and “go ahead, he will be surprised and happy to see you.”
She liked the sound of that voice.
She found the door under the porch and remembered the way through the dark cold basement and found the dirt steps that led into the house, Just like they had done that night so many years before. She did stop once and think how strange it was that, whoever, this cousin was, never locked these doors.
“Why, any kind of nut could walk in here!” she thought.
She came to the kitchen and stopped and called out his name, no answer. As she walked from room to room, she did not see anything that she recognized. There was furniture and clothes, that she knew weren’t his. There was food in the kitchen, that he would never eat.
Not so strange, since his cousin lived there also.
The only thing that was familiar was the big feather bed, still there, still just a bare mattress and no curtains on the window… she caught herself smiling.
She pushed those pleasant memories back because she had a purpose and she could still feel that someone was there in the house.
Why didn’t they answer her?
It was almost daylight by then, but strangely, the overhead lights were still on in a couple of the rooms.The bathroom was still warm and damp from the shower being recently used. But she dismissed that as being the careless cousin, leaving the doors unlocked and all the lights on when he left.
You know the cousin? “What was his name?” she wondered. He had never actually told her what his cousin’s name was.
Shrugging it off, she was still walking and calling for her lover… Or anyone. “Is there anyone here?” she called.
She found the room that he had described to her, in detail, that he had moved into while staying there. She just knew that he had to be in that room. She opens the big door, calling his name. No answer..The door squeaked and it startled her. She jump back at the sound.Then all was ghostly quite again. The room was dark and gloomy. It looked like some sort of parlor type room, complete with a velvet couch and an old fireplace.
That fireplace had not seen a spark of a fire in years. She could almost hear the scurrying of the dust bunnies, or maybe spiders. running across the floor.
She was confused. Where was he?
She suddenly realized what all this meant. He had lied.
He was such a good liar.
Her blood boiled with anger, not fear, pure savage-like anger. Lying about this meant he had lied about everything. The disrespect of not ever thinking that she would come to find him was heart wrenching.
She was hurt and seething mad by the time she left that house.
The next series of events is definitely not too flattering to Teri and certainly not easy to admit that she actually went through with it. But, sadly, her memory served her well on that part of the story.
She drove around to a few places that she thought he might be and after the second try, she hit the jackpot. She spotted his vehicle in a driveway of a woman that she knew was supposed to be part of his history. Her heart sank in her chest but she couldn’t ignore what was so obvious.
He was caught red-handed. He was and had been living with her all this time. He had never moved out. Once again a voice should have told her to “go home, don’t cause a scene”?
That voice was still nowhere to be heard.
The rest of the details for that part of the story are excluded due to the nature of judgemental people who have never been in love with a liar.
It was a sad day for everyone involved. A lot of people got hurt that day,
It was the last time that he would have to lie to her, or to the other woman.
Life as they had known it, was over.
Teri thought her own life was over for good and that she could never take another breath without him.
Time is a great healer. Her heart and spirit has mended for the most part. But she would never forget him.
She travels down memory lane quite a bit to when she was his girl. Most of it brings a smile to her face, but her heart still skips a beat when she thinks about the love that was wasted and how their life could have been.
Right or wrong, that kind of love only happens once in a lifetime.
She came to accept that, yes, he loved her, but he also owned and controlled her.
He was a dangerous person that had the charm and charisma to lead a cult.
She wonders how many more have been under his spell.
So today, when she accidentally ran across that old farmhouse, the only thing that went through her mind was, “What the hell was I thinking that morning? I just walked into that place like I owned it. I could have gone to jail for breaking and entering, or worse, been shot.”
An instant second thought was, “Oh my gosh, I wonder if he even knew the people who once lived there? Did we just break into someone’s house? Did she break into someone’s house that morning that she went looking for him?”
She quickly pulls away, feeling like someone was watching her and recognized her as the crazy girl who just walked in here one day.
That isn’t entirely the truth.
With a smile and a blush she had to admit, that she also thought about the secret passageway and the feather bed.
She just kept driving and promised herself to never look back.