The House that No One Lived In

I was almost certain there was no one in that house.
Sometimes I saw the garage light on but, I mean, if it was electric anything could trigger it. There was a cat door and so I assumed strays came in and out. It must stink in there.
I said something about the potential smell to my other neighbor—a tiny blond thing with a big, meat-chested husband and a baby girl that was always on her hip, almost always slipping off of it she was so thin. Her name was Tabitha, which made her sound more interesting than she actually was.
"I mean she's 80 years old or something," said Tabitha. She was letting the hose run in her yard, soaking the dry circles of grass. Baby girl was, of course, on her hip, a teething toy between her fists and these strawberry pink sunglasses over her eyes. "I'm sure she doesn't even smell it."
She being the person in that house; it being the hypothetical cat pee.
"When's the last time her grandkids came over? You said she has grandkids, right?"
"Yeah, but, I mean, they're from Washington. That's on the other side of the continent. I don't think they visit very often."
"But, have you seen them? Like have they _ever_ come?"
Baby girl started slipping off Tabitha and making wet nonsensical baby sounds. "One second, sweetheart," Tabitha said and hoisted her back up on her hipbone. "She wants a popsicle." She rolled her eyes like it was obvious and annoying. "Anyways, it's real kind of you to worry about her, but I'm sure she's fine."
I wasn't worried, though. Not really. I was suspicious and curious and kind of terrified.
It was my first suburban neighborhood: lawns, driveways, individual mailboxes, people having to string up their own Christmas lights, mow their own grass. I knew everyone except for the person next to me, which everyone knew of but no one had actually seen. She was apparently the "oldest" resident and had lived in that same house for over half her life; she couldn't walk and so she sat in a huge chair watching daytime television. Like anybody would actually know that.
A couple weeks ago I whipped up some Tollhouse cookies, put them on a paper plate, wrapped the whole thing up in plastic, and took it over to that house. I knocked until I got so sick of knocking and waiting and wanted to vomit. I walked around the house. The gate was unlocked and slightly ajar. There was a back patio and sliding doors with the blinds pulled tight. I even shouted. I left the cookies on the doorstep.
After I'd talked with Tabitha about the smell and she'd told me not to worry about it I thought for a second that maybe I was being ridiculous and went and chucked the cookies in the trash. I tried to forget about it and not be curious and terrified.
Then one day I was pulling out of my driveway to get Chinese takeout and I looked over to the house out of habit. It was about 5 pm February so the sun was almost gone and everything was washed in a blue light. That's how I could see it so well. The window at the front right of the house was open and steam was pouring out like Niagara Falls. I put my car into park and threw myself out of it.
I was at the window, then, and it was steam: hot, sticky shower steam pouring and pouring into the air, flooding my nose and mouth. I stood right in it.
"Hey, is anybody in there?" I asked and my voice sounded weird.
The faucet squeaked and the water stopped.
"Sorry, I'm your neighbor. I didn't know if anyone was actually living here."
"I left some cookies awhile back but—I can come back later. I'll come back later, sorry, I don't want to bother you."