The sound was children laughing. The distance was measured in steps. There was skipping and screaming, and toys thrown asunder—the usual suspects of happiness that have lovingly littered our small street for the past two years.
“But there is something missing,” said the neighbor.
I said nothing and watched the children run by us. They took the hill with confidence, a blur of open mouths and hair blown by the wind. Between them flickered empty spaces of sunlight where my boys used to be.
I said nothing and watched the birds fly overhead. The clouds were low and pulled further down by greedy trees with nothing better to do. The mist fell across my cheeks, cool and sticky. It saved me the trouble of crying. The house just stood there with a blank look across its face, its door wide open in disbelief. Inside it was nothing but boxes, echoes, and the ghost of a home slowly dying.
The children ran back up the hill, a pack chasing after laughter. Our eyes met as they passed me by, and for a moment the world fell silent. I could read the writing on their wall, the smiles upon their faces. They were happy, but they knew it too, for they had left the spaces.