The Things They Left Behind

A constant onslaught of renters and roommates and friends staying over meant I never really knew who was or wasn’t living there. A Friday night fight, watched through drawn curtains, would bring the police and the line up would change. A break up, bursting with tears and screams would spill onto the front lawn and the people would rotate again.

The house swelled and televisions glowed behind each steam streaked window. Cars spilled out of the driveway onto the streets, each a small sanctuary to the changing faces, each one playing a different song, each one trying to drown out the others. Nights were a mess of noise as if a dozen marching bands, each playing a different song, were descending upon the house.

Then one streetlamp drenched night, a rented truck pulled onto the lawn and a ramp was brought right to the front door. Some items went up the ramp. Others were tossed out the back door, scattered across the dirt and weeds of the back yard: a recliner broken in two, a skateboard, cracked and faded by the sun, a mattress blushing with stains.

Then the truck pulled away and the rotation was done. The only evidence anyone had ever lived there was the things they left behind in the dust and weeds and concrete. Eventually, there would be squatters, a relative trying in vain to save the property from foreclosure, and luxury cars pulling into the weed filled yard to peer through the windows. But for one quiet moment, I was alone in the backyard wading through the forgotten and discarded lives that left late in the night.