I was traveling. It was autumn. The sky was gray. Dull brown leaves crunched beneath my feet. I came across a sculpture in the woods of two Eiffel towers, one was perhaps seven feet tall and the other was more like twenty-five feet tall. Around them was a miniature rollercoaster and figures enjoying the carnival. A big man with a beard came up with a perhaps thirteen-year-old boy. He explained that for decades his family created roadside attractions and this was his son’s first attempt at making something. I said that I found it interesting, but didn’t understand why there were two Eiffel towers. The boy explained that he had made the little one first, but after he made all the people he decided it wasn’t big enough and made the other. He didn’t want the little one to go to waste so he included it anyway.
They offered to show me their other sculptures. I followed them. We passed over a little bridge, past dry reeds and cattails. We walked past rusty sculptures for awhile, I feigned interest and I forced some oooh’s and aaah’s. The ground became softer. I looked out over a boggy lake and saw houses. They looked very new. The houses were built vertically. The bottom floor was only the garage and each floor was build onto that footprint. At least three floors of living space. The few houses were flooded. The water went halfway up the garages. I asked what happened there. The old man explained that some developer came in and drained the swamp. He built these model homes, but they didn’t sell much before a rainy spring flooded the area again. The homeowners left and never returned. It was depressing. They were very nice, but perhaps unattractive, houses. A site of broken hopes and dreams.
I followed the old man and his son back to their house. Everything gets confusing and I vaguely remember it being run down. Cracks in the plaster walls, a turn in a narrow staircase, filth accumulating at the edges from years of trudging up and down, like the old barns I saw as a kid.