I came in through the back door, like I used to. It was always unlocked and there was usually somebody in the kitchen- Ann or David or their boy- to greet me. I was the goofy neighbor back then, I guess. I'd show up, grab a beer, greet everybody,(more) and hang out with David in the back yard for a while. Those were good times, but times change.
I wasn't the goofy neighbor anymore; I had gotten married and moved a few blocks away, and that distance along with my new life was enough that I fell out of contact with my adopted little family next door. I wasn't around when things got bad, and- being honest- I stayed away when things got really bad.
No one to greet me this time. I expected a mess or maybe a pile of dishes going rancid in the sink, but even those require more living than David was doing. The place wasn't clean either. It was just dead, muted. I walked to the front of the house and saw David in the driveway. He stood statue-still, regarding something on the ground.
I walked outside, I greeted, I went unanswered. He didn't move as I approached him but he knew I was there.
He said, "Forgot about these." In the pavement at his feet were three sets of handprints- his large ones, Ann's slightly smaller, and another set smaller still. "They've been out here a while... this whole time." I didn't know what to say, and was selfishly wondering why the hell I had come over at all.
"It's like a dream gone wrong," he continued. "But these are still real. Like they're still here."
I stood with him, and regarded the ground with him a little while.(less)
Out of nowhere these days will come. Any weather, any day of the week. The light falls flat. The horizon has a curious cloudiness; lines of sight are imperceptibly obscured. Trees don't move and birds are like wooden toys moving through the air. A passing vehicle on the quiet(more) street emits a muffled choking sound and as it vanishes around the corner its engine trails off before it should. I am at loose ends. There is nothing for me to do. The kitchen cold. No appetite, restless. The radio songs are all sung by dead people. The blank page in front of me is less a thing that can be filled as it is a calm, blank space to float into. The space-beyond-the-day. The page should suck like a magnet the iron filings of fleeting thoughts/ideas/intentions from my brain, assemble the microscopic chips into reasonable sane words. But there is nothing. Blankness fore and aft. (less)