“ I glance across the lawn to the empty house next door, through the dirty front window and out the other side where the kitchen should be, the order never placed and the plans discarded."
Daffodils are up that I did not plant, and I step over them and navigate the rocks I did not place to make my way onto the hill towards the shed and into the woods. I pass two broken green plastic containers of dead flowers sitting on the wood pile, the wedding blossoms they held seven months ago disintegrated and blown into the weeds. I walk across the roughly mowed clearing I flattened for the slack line I bought as a housewarming present, a gift that now holds the balance of someone I will never know. I glance across the lawn to the empty house next door, through the dirty front window and out the other side where the kitchen should be, the order never placed and the plans discarded. Birds land in the seedless feeder, hopping from side to side checking for food that isn’t there. Down towards the lake, a winding path, mowed as a surprise and named after someone that will never set foot in it again, the scars of many scratches still lightly apparent on my legs from sculpting it into twisting shapes of pine and fruit trees. The open patch of grass, still crushed from blankets put down for loving secretly in the sunlight, reminds me of transforming an impassible network of thorny tangled thickets into a sweet garden that would be checked first upon arrival on moonlit nights. I call Luke, who is wading through the pond, and he charges past me to take a lap around the cabin, the new red stain almost to the roof from a project that is now mine to finish. I go inside, become aware of the extra-small green striped hoodie hanging on the bedroom hook, take it down, open the back door, and throw it into the trash.