In 1995, I attended college at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, LA. In entering that year's fall semester, I was a senior, soon to graduate from the medical field.
One weekend, I hopped in my car and took a trip to visit my mother who lived in Jackson, MS, just about 3 1/2 hours drive from Baton Rouge. Half way between the two cities was a city called McComb. As I drove down the highway, I tuned into sappy love songs playing on the radio. I felt totally relaxed and comfortable. Just as I was driving into a rural part of the city I noticed on the right side of the highway there stood a small, white poster board hung on a thin pole that said, "house for sale" and beneath it was an arrow pointing right to a small, dusty, isolated path.
I thought I'd check it out since I needed somewhere to stay after school. I slowed down my car, pulled to the shoulder and hit reverse to the path. After driving 15 minutes along the path, the house appeared in my sight. It was a white, two story house with a huge front porch. Impressed with its beauty, I didn't notice that oddly the house sat in such isolation. I pulled up to the driveway and grabbed a Polaroid camera out of my bag. I wanted to take pictures of the house to show them to my mother. If this were to be my future home, I would definitely want my mother's opinion on it.
I walked up the steps and into the spacious porch. Some pots of plants stood around the area and a wooden table sat in the center. I walked to the front door and gave it a couple of knocks. A short moment after, the front door opened and there stood an old lady dressed in black pants and a brown shirt. She was short, kind of stubby and had a head full of grays. She greeted me with, "Hi there!" as if she had expected me. I snapped pictures of every room in the house as she toured me. Pulling my car from the driveway of the house and back onto the dusty path, I felt a sense of happiness and excitement swept over me. I thought to myself that I had finally found the house of my dream at a very affordable price.
A week later, I stopped at Wal-Mart to pick up the films that I had dropped off for development. I came back to my apartment and immediately called my mother to tell her that I was going to drive to her place to show her the pictures. I reached in my bag and grabbed the yellow envelope with the photos inside. I pulled them out. I took a quick peek. I screamed. I dropped the stack of photos from my hands along with the telephone from between my head and shoulder I quickly jumped back, away from the photos. Frozen in disbelief I stood there staring down to the floor at them. I didn't realize that my mother was still on the other line saying over and over, "Are you alright, dear?" After a long moment of being in the state shock and confusion, I was able to get myself together again. I finally found the courage to drop to the floor and examine the photos closely. They were not the pictures of my dream house but those of a burned down one. Every picture was of a room in charcoal black as if it had been devoured by a fierce fire. The state of shock and confusion quickly turned into fear. I picked up the photos and burned them immediately without any thought of explanation.
That same day, I hopped into my car, drove back to McCOmb and back onto the same highway. Anxiety and nervousness filled my head as I drove slowly down the highway in search of the "house for sale" poster board and the isolated, dusty path. To my surprise I did not find either one. I kept driving back and forth, eager to find it but without luck.
From that day on, I've never been the same. If someone tells me I've gone mad, I believe it. Even my psychologist thinks I'm delusionally sick. Perhaps I am, but who can really say what's real and what's not? Sometimes I regret burning those photos. Maybe if I still had them, then maybe people wouldn't question my sanity.