The Cross House
Today, when I was a block away from the Cross House, I looked at the house…and my brain could not process what I was seeing.
As my car continued, things came into focus.
Standing on my front stone steps was a young woman in a huge pink wedding dress. Standing next to her was the groom. A few feet away, standing on my lawn, were the obvious parents. Near the sidewalk was a photographer.
My blood instantly boiled. I was enraged.
My car turn the corner, I slammed on the brakes, and watched as the photographer turned towards me. I pressed the electric window switch.
Oh. I knew the photographer.
And I loathed her.
About two years ago, a woman stopped by the house unannounced. She was a photographer and wanted to take some pictures with a few models inside the house. She made no mention of any fee being paid. I let her inside, and she was very excited and asked if she could schedule a shoot. I warily agreed.
The day arrived. It was blistering and the house was an oven as the AC was not connected.
The photographer arrived. Late. Then the “few models” arrived. Late. While a “few” had been promised, eight very young women stepped inside, and all dressed in big gowns and with a ton of make-up on (something rarely seen in rural Kansas). As the photographer set up, the girls chatted away and I thought: How did a bunch of Valley Girls get in my house?
I could listen to no more so wandered to find the photographer. She was in the backyard hauling large antique chairs and lighting out from her truck. I watched as she struggled to bring everything inside. I wondered where her assistant was.
Because my mother raised me right I said, gritting my teeth: “Can I help?”
“Oh! That would be great!”
I cursed my mother.
Normally, I would be glad to help a person struggling with something. But…I had the uneasy feeling of, I dunno, being used. My intuition was on high alarm. Something was wrong.
The photographer had promised a 90 minute session. So, I knew I could leave at 4PM. But her late arrival, and the even later arrival of the gaggle of Valley Girls, meant that they didn’t get started until 3:30.
When 4PM ticked by, it was obvious that they would not be leaving soon. By 4:15 I was mad. By 4:30, with my face glowering, I asked: “Will you be done soon? I needed to leave a half-hour ago.”
The photographer, furiously clicking away and not turning towards me, replied: “Oh, just a few more minutes.”
4:40 ticked by.
4:50 ticked by.
5:00 ticked by.
5:10 ticked by.
My anger was now volcanic.
I stepped into the latest room they were in. “You said you would be finished by 4. It’s now 5:20. I need to leave, NOW!”
The Valley Girls, dripping with sweat, glared at me.
Soon after, the girls left. I offered none of them a paper towel.
The photographer struggled with her chairs and equipment and I was determined not to help. But…I know, I know…I did. With sweat pouring down my body, I hauled out two large antique chairs downstairs and out to her car.
Damn my mother.
The photographer offered a quick thank you and asked if she could return. This shocked me, and I just stared at her. She then said she would forward copies of the images she took, and then drove off.
It was 5:50.
And I felt totally abused.
Are you surprised that no images were ever forwarded?
The next year I heard a loud knocking on the front door. As I walked towards the glass door I recognized the visitor.
She was back.
I opened the door but only enough to stick my head out. I did not say hello.
“Hi! I don’t know if you will remember but I I took some photographs last year and was wondering if I could schedule another shoot?”
This stunned me. Could a person really be this oblivious?
“No. That would not be possible.” And I closed the door.
I knew my mother would not approve. However, I experienced the thrill of a a tiny victory.
Today, as the photographer turned towards me, I recognized her.
It was her.
A level of absolute fury welled up in me that could have lighted the whole city if tapped unto.
It was her.
With my window now open, she started to speak but I cut her off. With each of my words radioactive with controlled fury I said: “You are on private property. And you did not not even have the courtesy of asking permission. GET OFF MY PROPERTY AND NEVER RETURN!”
She started to reply. I drove away.
Reaching the driveway, MY driveway, I could not get in because her car was blocking it. Crazed from anger, I drove half-way onto the grass, around her car, and then to my usual spot. Picking up the cat carrier (with a sick kitty in it), I took the side steps onto the porch and walked towards the front doors, determined not to look at the trespassers. Out of the corner of my eye though I saw a huge pink dress scurry off.
Moment later, the car left.
My level of anger shocked me. I mean, it was not like they were damaging anything, and I doubted that the bride and groom knew that they were trespassing.
But I felt profoundly violated. I felt abused, screwed over. I felt disrespected.
And then I wondered: How many times had the photographer done this without my knowledge?
(NOTE: The kitty is fine.)