The Abominable

Posted by on Nov 17, 2017 in neighborhood | No Comments
The Abominable

Whenever I walk past your house I think of the abominable snowman.
Remember how he scared us?
We knew he was hiding behind the trimmed hedges beneath your living room window,
fangs moist with anticipation.

Sometimes he was in your basement, too, and we would get so scared
your big sister would have to walk me partway home
in the dark
until I could see my house
and I would hurry the rest of the way.

Always the abominable lurked.

We were walking home from school when you told me you were moving.
It was the final day of Third Grade.
You were my friend.
My best friend.
Remember how we would laugh so hard we thought we would never again be able to breathe normally?
I stepped inside my house, and tears fell along with my books.
I’ll bet you did the same a minute later when you made it past the hedges and entered your house.
I wonder if you saw the beast grin as you slipped by with wet eyes.

I was playing table hockey with my brother when my mother interrupted, her face ashen.
I was numb. You had become a teenager just the day before.
Not knowing what to say, I said nothing. I got up from the pointless game
and went into the living room to sit by myself near the big picture window.
What was it like, there on the cold highway,
as Thanksgiving travelers
slowed down
to gape
at the twisted metal
and one broken body?
I stared out the window, but saw nothing.
Not even a monster.
Tears came later, in the dark.

I have lived more than four times as long as you, and hope for six, even seven times as long.
I have cried a bit, and laughed a lot. I have known love and raised a family
and found fulfillment in a variety of ways.
Life has been good, this side of the ground.

The people who bought your house from your parents raised their family and grew old there,
behind the hedges.
They finally sold it a few weeks back, after half a century.
I walked past it today.
The new people have built a tall wooden fence that separates the trimmed hedges and all else in front from the side entrance and the backyard.
I wonder if they know about the abominable.
No mere fence can stop it.
You and I were right about that.

But we were wrong, too. Wrong about the abominable.
It isn’t a monster, lurking in bushes and basements and cold lonely highways,
fangs moist with anticipation.
It is simply a patient, mysterious porter, waiting to hold the door open for us
when our time comes.
Of course, I don’t have to tell you that.

Early Morning Reflection
The Gift of a Mermaid’s Purse

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