#188 Not Home

by Madeline Mora-Summonte

I stare at the house Will shares with his wife and twin girls. The shades are drawn. The driveway, empty.

Evelyn, the neighborhood grandmother, approaches. Whenever Will dropped the girls off for babysitting, she’d give him cookies. We’d eat them in my bed. I’d leave the crumbs scattered in the sheets, a trail for Will to find his way back to me.

“They’re not home, dear. They took a little family vacation.”

One of the girls left a box of colored chalk on the lawn’s edge. The girls. My heart shudders inside my hollow body where so much more should live. Where Will promised me more would live.

“Are you one of Will’s . . . students?” Evelyn asks.

It’s the pause that tells me what her words don’t say.

I kneel then shake out the chalk. I stain the cement with my sorrow. I swirl the colors into scenes—a heart turned inside out, an empty crib, a goodbye note tucked under my toaster.

Evelyn walks away, but returns dragging a yellow hose. She lays it at my feet. “Please don’t let the little ones see this. They’re good girls.”

“If you’re so worried, you do it.” My voice is like the chalk—blunted, broken.

“You need to.” She touches my arm.

I walk away. I don’t look back as the water jets from the hose. I don’t need to look back to see my dreams slide off the curb, slip into the gutter. I already know.

1 comment:

pegjet said...

You've captured a whole story in so few words. Very well done.