7

Vienna, December 1, 1995

 

It snows and darkens early. I’m at my grandmother’s nursing home, I will sleep here for a few nights. It’s the first time that I don’t stay at the house that has been empty these last six months. I went there yesterday and did not want to stay until the evening. I felt the house was stronger than us, it was unsettling.

 

I took photographs. There was almost a complete silence. I did not want to move anything before taking a picture. I felt respect for the arrangement of the objects, the draping of the fabric that covers the beds, the chairs. It seemed like past experiences lingered in the air, in the things. I feel dizzy.

 

All of my movements have that strange taste of ritual.

 

Vienna, December 10, 1995

 

I start to open the wardrobes. I find objects that my grandmother accumulated over so many years.  The arrangement of the things speaks to me of obsession. Thousands of pieces of dress fabric, coats, curtains. Boxes and more empty boxes, plastic bags, all of the house keys. Sugar bags from hotels, newspaper clippings, many articles about my grandfather. The diaries where my grandmother writes of the climate, her pains, the phone calls, the visits. Many notebooks that started off as diaries, she would write a few pages and then leave them blank. All my grandmother’s and her sister’s photo albums since they were little girls. Furniture filled with photographs and letters from the family and from people I don’t know.