Sunday, July 08, 2007

The Neighbors

Five dogs, a woman who works, a man with a pony tail, a belligerant son.

Sunday morning, she leaves the house by the back door, shutting it behind her. Five dogs - hunting breeds and mongrels - angle their noses, heads, lithe bodies and swish their tails. She speaks quietly to them. Takes her seat in the one plastic chair, lights a cigerette. A lifetime of silence. In a moment the man comes to the back door and insists she come inside and give him a grocery list. He's going to the store. She climbs the steps like they're mountains. The door slams shut.

On weekdays, the boy is a shadow in the house., a shadow with a voice. Each time a dog barks, he screams: "Shut up!," again and again, louder and louder until he's outbarked the dog. He curses at the man, calls him "moron." Sunday evenings, he appears in baggy jeans, dark tee shirt, his hair uncombed and dirty, to complete his one chore - taking the garbage to the street. The clink of beer bottles gets muffled as he yells at the man, who gives directions from the porch.

Afternoons, when the boy's mom pulls into the driveway, he runs to her small white car. He wants to carry in the groceries. She rushes past him. There are no words. The man meets the woman on the front porch. He wants to show her his tomato plants, how they've grown. She goes inside the house, clutching a paper bag, her purse.

She waits for the weekend.

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