I’ve neglected the backyard again. Some new species of foliage moved in and set up a defensive perimeter around the gate in the privet hedge along the back row. Invasive is putting it lightly. This thing grows a couple meters a day, spines and thorns along the entire length, and it has the nasty habit of killing every other plant it touches. Nasty burn from touching it too. Not at all a nice plant. I swear it’s watching me anytime I’m out back. Now if I can just get around it to the shed where I foolishly left the trimmers.
“Are you ready? Father and I wouldn’t want you to miss Christmas. After all, the presents are ready under the tree, and we put out the cookies and milk for Santa, didn’t we? He’ll like those, I’m sure. It won’t be long now before he visits our house. You know what they say, that he’s watching and knows who’s good or not? Well, it’s true. He’s jolly when children are good. And when they’re bad, he takes them. Not all the offerings in the world would make the old elf leave behind a bad child. He’ll snatch you up and take you back to his workshop and you’ll end up making toys for other children for the rest of your life. Now don’t cry, I’m sure you’ve been a good boy, haven’t you? Well then, you have nothing to worry about. Just make sure you’re asleep before Santa arrives with his sleigh. Those reindeer might just eat you up if you’re awake and happen to sneak down to the tree to see him. Sweet dreams, pumpkin. May sugar plumbs dance in your head.”
He sat in the silent room. That’s not quite right for he could still hear the echoes, long stilled, of laughter and shrieks of joy, of cards being shuffled for a game of chance, of clinking champagne flutes to ring in the new year, of the arguments that were always the one argument, the last argument. All this and more echoed in his mind as dust motes danced slow pirouettes in a solitary shaft of sunlight.
“It’s a shame, really.” He continued wrapping the crystal goblets with newspaper.
“What is?” she asked as she removed the paintings and photographs from the foyer.
“Oh you know. All this packing. We’ve lived here for generations and one vote by the city council and suddenly our home is too big.”
She frowned. “You know it’s not right that we should have so much while others have so little. As I recall, you even voted in favor of the ordinance.”
“Well, all the same, it’s just a shame that this old house will be demolished. She’s got good bone, she does.” He sighed. “I’ll miss the old girl.”
“We all will, but you know how it goes. All for the greater good. Now come here and help me get this portrait down. I can’t reach high enough.”
While we’ll never be dear friends, as much as I may desire, you will always be dear to me. The way you rise from a chair, the grace with which you walk into a room, your smile which outshines the sun, the laughter of the sirens and the stern look of rebuke, all of this is charming beyond compare. While we exist across a gulf of purgatory, you will always and again live in every beat of my heart, the blood in my veins, the roots of the tree of life entwining and sustaining.