[caption id="attachment_1891" align="aligncenter" width="640" caption="The kitchen cabinets, post raid."][/caption] They ran a machine-painting business from the office in the basement. Boxes of old receipts and financial records sat in an inch of water, mouldering in the mid-summer stench of stagnancy and abandonment. A married couple appeared as the co-signers on the checks, but the home only held evidence of a woman and her daughter. And starting in 2008, the soggy books spoke of a dwindling customer base. By June of 2010, the books had stopped. [caption id="attachment_1892" align="aligncenter" width="425" caption="Freshly hung towels left behind."][/caption] A neighbor approached me as I was photographing the yard, and she confirmed my suspicions. "Janice and Greg (not their real names) had been here for about a decade," she informed me. "But the business went south, and with it went the marriage. I'd see Greg in the garage smoking and drinking Miller Lite, like he was trying to figure out what to do. I guess he did. Eventually he left." [caption id="attachment_1893" align="aligncenter" width="640" caption="The remnants of youth."][/caption] I commented to the neighbor that this home looked more put together than most foreclosures, almost as if departure was less a planned event and more of a middle-of-the-night flight. [caption id="attachment_1894" align="aligncenter" width="640" caption="The play house looked foreclosed, too."][/caption] "You know," the neighbor continued, "you're almost right. I mean, Janice knew this was coming, she knew it for months. But she didn't do anything. I offered to help her out, you know, by buying some things like her table and chairs, her couches, stuff like that. But she just kept living there up until the sheriff showed up. It's like she was in denial or something. [caption id="attachment_1895" align="aligncenter" width="640" caption="The fish tank was still bubbling."][/caption] "Then she just packed up her daughter and a few things into their minivan, and they took off. It's funny, 'cuz me and her used to be good friends. I'd have them over for dinner, and my daughter would play with theirs in the backyard. But I haven't heard a word from her since she left. I've called, but she doesn't answer or respond. I know she has family in Edmonton. Other than that, I have no idea where she might be." [caption id="attachment_1896" align="aligncenter" width="425" caption="Off."][/caption] With that, the neighbor retired to her home, and I locked up, hopped in my truck, and moved on to the next home, which would tell its own story, and other variation on a theme. [caption id="attachment_1897" align="aligncenter" width="640" caption="The curling iron gets me."][/caption]

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