I vacuumed through the small dog fronds of fur, compiled it with cat, augmenting it with the dirt of living in a house for 24 years. I moved furniture like the powerful Katrinka from the fjords that I used to be. The room is half together when I call a break for a MacDonald’s Quarter Pounder with Cheese. I glance about, furious with the amount of work that needs doing. My eyes fall on the mess in one corner.
The tax forms were escaping from a bundle of useless paper, formal documents of every moment of our spending, and pictures from here and there around the world that I still have to edit or delete into a basket that was wider than long. The laptop lay open waiting to tease me into confronting my fear that we would owe, that the government thought us richer than we are.
I let the TV ramble on its own, deciding not to listen to the story but to use it as white noise. As the last number snaps into place and the tax forms grab my credit card and checking account numbers to abscond with them, I find myself being annoyed at the fluff that is chasing itself across the screens.
Trivial is the first thought and then I hear the shot ring out. No, not from the screen, but from memory, a shocking vision of what life was like for me growing up just this side of 31st Avenue. A pregnancy, a terminal illness, a shotgun wound, an abortion, a loss, a hammer through the skull of a child, a foundling, and old men playing with forms of drink, cards and knives, these things were just on the other side of the neighborhood my parents found for us to live. We were on the good side of the street, hell was on the other side.