In this house, two weeks ago, there were the living. There was mail read here, once. Laundry, folded. Sink stains. There were signs of a place being lived in, inhabited with people planning the next day, commenting on the dark night in a new moon, lazily delaying snow shoveling.
I saw the people who lived inside this house, outside of this house. I saw these people park. I saw these people strum guitars in their head, I saw them scratch their legs, I saw them smell the flood water on their street, moving up their driveway.
I see them in their house, now, doing all of those things that the living do.
I can see these things because, now, they don’t live. And my reflection enlightens me. Or my imagination, at least.
Two weeks ago, the son, living here with his reliant, elderly mother, killed both her and himself with too many pills. There was a suicide note, but I don’t know why, why he did it. These people were my parents’ neighbors, my neighbors, sporadically, over the years. When they were found by the other son, police arrived and strung tape across tree trunks. News crews soon came. Neighbors gathered and folded their arms, shook their heads and wondered why to each other.
And then it was all over. Television antennas lowered, neighbors returned home. Life went back to normal all around this death. It’s strange, now, to see the house ready to move on. Someone attached wreaths to the garage lights. There’s a ‘For Sale’ sign in the front yard. And others walk by or drive past, not thinking of what happened there, maybe ignorant or less interested in the before, while everything sits quiet and uniquely bland in the after.