The fence is bent and unbreaking, but the gate isn’t locked. The grass is uneven and showing wear, but it is equally green on the other side as it is on this one and I wonder if it’s because I’m a renter.
I own a home in another state where once we laughed and built treehouses in the yard, but now it sits empty with a sign in front and shells of echoes caught in dusty cobwebs. We were happy there, but we weren’t. This isn’t retrospect, this is a fact. We knew we were happy and there were times that you may have mistaken the twinkle in our eyes for the stars that shone down upon them, and if you made such assumptions we would forgive you, because the only difference between those twinkles and the stars was distance and frankly, we were never that close.
Most of the time we listened to the wind howl and one of us would say something and the other one would nod and our blank stares through finger-smudged windows carried more weight than whatever it was we were talking about.
“If you look at that tree,” the boy said softly to no one, “with the green and red leaves in the sunlight, it looks like apples.
“We had an apple tree at the old house.”
And since he was talking to nobody nobody answered, except this time our gaze had focus and our silence had purpose and instead of pushing words down we were riding upon them and if there had been apples we would have picked one and shared it because one apple was enough between us. The green and red leaves on the tree in the sunlight bore no fruit and we weren’t that hungry as we’d just had breakfast, but when he walked away I did find that I was craving an apple and I turned my attentions to finding juice in the kitchen with varying degrees of success.
The day was long and covered in rays of gray. The clouds and the sun fought and they twisted and there was much give and take, then finally they agreed to disagree and filled the sky with brilliantly lit buckets of rain and for the span of a shower I thought we might all get along and I stood on a field with a team of children and lost slick fly balls due to blindness and we found ourselves soaking wet and counting rainbows in the outfield. There were nearly two more than I ever would have imagined.
“Probably won’t need any more fires this spring,” he said just moments before I walked in the door and built one. What the hell did he know? It was the last of the wood and the sky was still pouring pounds of prisms which were cold when they hit you and they hit me often because I am equal parts slow but mostly defiant. Standing before the open fire I dripped unwanted sprinkles like a man slowly melting. I left the puddle on the floor as something to remember me by and made a mental note to show the kids first thing in the morning, assuming I didn’t forget.
The boys went to bed after three gasps for air and the warmth of the fire filled the sudden stillness of the house. One of us grabbed a bottle of wine and the other played some songs on the stereo and from our seats we could watch the night as it came through the trees. and then it ran right past us. The glow from the flames flexed for a moment and then resigned itself to a more realistic pace once it realized we weren’t there to fight it. There were things we could have said about the way that it danced or the bills left unpaid, but we’d said it all before and the room was better quiet. The wine on her lips flirted fantastic.