We have the same round face, the same sense of humour, and the same creative brain. We also share a curiosity for the strange, and the thought of an old abandoned house perched high on a hill in the middle of nowhere caught her attention as it had mine the day I drove past it on my way to an unrelated errand, and we sped down the long country road that was longer and curvier than I remembered.
I pulled up at the silver padlocked farm gate and we both got out of the car, the slamming of each car door piercing the quiet country air.
"Wow," we both sighed, and I retrieved my camera from the back seat. I snapped away at the expanse of grass leading upward to the ravaged beauty patiently waiting for us. It took no more than a look exchanged between sisters, the one sisters read each other's minds with as children when they have a diabolical plan mum won't be happy about. This one said, "We have to go up there", and a split second later we had jumped the fence and were making our way up the hill.
The ground grew harder and the house grew bigger as we got closer, and in between nervous glances behind us waiting for the sound of a car or angry neighbour, we both looked up in awe at this life-sized, battered dollhouse.
It stood tall and strong like a woman who has been battered and bruised by life but refuses to be broken. She has faith someone will someday rescue her so she has her shoulders back, holds her head high, and waits.
She no longer sees the cars drive by and curious faces peek up at her, since the last of her windows perished and cracked, scattering themselves inside. She no longer feels her skin being ripped away as the weatherboard succumbs to the wind. Her only friends are the birds who have made their home in her ceiling. We hope she can hear, so she can hear us tell her how beautiful she is and how we could bring her to life again if we had the money.
Putting our better judgement aside and throwing caution to the hefty breeze blowing through the house, my sister risked falling through the floor and stepped in the back door and I followed, camera snapping wildly.
Her bones were strong, stronger than one would think for a house stood on a hill for at least ten years.
The house was bereft of electricity, so candles lit up in our heads and we saw a grand entranceway leading to a country-style kitchen on the left and a sun-filled dining room with a long dining table filled with laughter and children and good, home-grown food.
We saw the dirt and broken glass and walls scattered on the walls replaced with luxurious couches, calming paintings on the walls above, and a wall lined with books. The collapsed staircase was rebuilt in our minds out of chocolate timber, leading to light, sunny bedrooms with an iron headboard on each bed.
Someday, if we ever have the money, we decided, we want to buy this house, give it eyes again and let it feel and hear the happiness and laughter we could bring to it.
Here are the photos of our adventure: