Snow and bitter cold when I arrive at the library entrance. I look at my emails while blowing on my fingers!
Sirens in town, it seems serious. Would the cloud come here? Robbie has just sent me some amazing pictures from Iceland.
Strange overtime, everyone is leaving and it’s as if I had planned to stay on I don’t really have the urge to go on photographing.
The snow is melting. I set off towards Gusdorf Rd to find the inhabitants of the red house, the one under the rainbow. I want to give them the picture I took the other day. I can’t find the road up to the house.
A pedestrian, Indian of course, is walking along the other side of the street. I wave to him from the car and ask him where the red house is. No reaction, I show him the picture.
– “I would like to give it to the people who live there.”
– “Ah! Okay! Make a U-turn, turn right, and down there where you see the curved house, turn right again and go about a hundred meters down the trail. It’s there.”
I can’t find the house. A car with a young couple, also Indians, is coming towards me. I slow down when I reach them.
– “Do you know the people who live in the red house that’s visible from Gusdorf Rd?”
Silence. He raises his eyebrows,
I hand them the photo, add that it’s a gift. They look, smile:
– “It’s there, 60 feet down the road. There are the caravans that serve as outhouses [toilets; or storage spaces?], and the field with the cars. The house is between the two. On this side it’s not red, that’s why you didn’t see it. Great picture, they’ll be pleased.”
I reach the house, a “singlewide” as they say here. To the side, the broken-down cars, the firewood etc… the usual big pile of bric-a-brac. As at Jacky’s, everything can be put to use. The dog barks, but it seems to be tied up.
I knock, no answer, I go in. An Indian woman is lying on the sofa, her leg swollen, a red scab. A low table next to her. A little girl is bent over, drawing. Her grandfather, on the right, gets up and comes towards me. The two adults look taken aback. The television is on in the background. The room is very small. I tell them about the rainbow, the red house… They look.
– “The photo is for you.” Now we start talking. He asks me where I come from.
– “Nice, South of France.”
– “Ah, I thought so, I have a book from France, I think. I’ll go get it, you’ll tell me… “
– “Okay.” He returns with several books. Shows me one.
– “It’s a book published in Paris, by Plon, a Savoir Vivre, to teach politeness to children.”
– “Ah ok, it was annoying not to know what it was about. My father had recovered this batch of French books.”
He hands me the others; they’re all from the early 20th century.
We look at them together.
I ask the woman what happened to her leg.
– “A dog bit me.”
– “And did you see a doctor?”
– “Yes, I showed him the bite, he gave me some antibiotics, and I have to go back to see him again.”
I press the point:
– “Please, don’t forget. You must go and see him again.”
– “Yes, yes! Don’t you worry. Thanks for the picture.”
We shake hands. Goodbye.
Once outside, I count my lucky stars for having come across only well-behaved guard dogs.
At 5:00 pm, I meet up with Caryn and Mark for dinner at the Outback.
We spend three hours putting the world to rights, from Europe to the USA, from their daughters to mine, from the school Caryn created to my photo projects; and Mark tells us about his band’s recordings and the new communities in Detroit…
Farewells, hugs, and they climb into Caryn’s battered, sky-blue pickup. She had tried for 10 years to buy it from a friend. He finally gave it to her.
Leave-takings that fade away.
Will we continue to talk about everything from Pierrefeu and Taos?
Boucler les valises. Demain matin, Albuquerque.
Shutting the suitcases.
Tomorrow morning, I leave for Albuquerque.
A touch of sadness.