inside the wright house

we go to see the frank lloyd wright house in san francisco, that neighborhood by the golden gate bridge– we walk along the steet outside of it and look up along a high cliff wall, and there are planes of water, right angles, staggered parallel lines– we can just make it out overhead, water glinting in available light. my friend has her camera and tries to shoot up the cliff– I’m dubious of the results from our angle. we find our way to an entrance, and the whole thing seems boarded up, closed down, deserted. we recall some story about the well-to-do family who had owned it, famous people, american royalty, and some family tragedy– like the lindberg baby. we sneak in through the dirty boards– I’m wearing white painter’s pants and think to myself, great choice, as I kneel on the filthy stairs. inside upstairs is still and dim, perfectly preserved– expensive, old-fashioned heavy wood furniture– darkness more like a castle than a wright house– yes, it’s sort of hearst castle, post- patty’s abduction. there’s a huge mahogany fireplace. but it all seems to be abandoned. we walk through once, whispering, looking at everything, and then leave– it’s when we go back that we get in trouble– walking through again, we notice a door closed that had been ajar before– and just as I see it, before I have time to alert the others and get us out of there, he appears, saying, well, well, well– to what do I owe the honor of this visit? we are so busted, stammering, apologizing– all but the little sister, who, unabashed, asks him for a momento. we’re down the stairs in a flash and only looking back for the little sister, wishing she would come away– but she’s unpertubed. finally, in her own good time, she shows up with a fistful of jewelrey he’s apparently given to her, none of it terribly precious, but pretty stuff. we sort it out into necklaces, bracelets, and so on, and carefully undo the knots.

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