The shed stood at the back of the property amongst thickets and brush; weeds climbed on its side and shingles lay loose on top. It’d been there for years, old pieces of plywood forged into four walls with an A frame ceiling in which two by fours stretched across. There was cracks and holes in it. Age will do that.
Them original owners never bothered to empty it. Old newspapers and water damaged boxes filled the shed from top to bottom. A groundhog made it it’s home. Once you opened that door there was no way of telling what you were in for. The smell of the mildew alone was enough to make you wanna turn around and run. Dark green circles covered the inside.
She had bought the property after her divorce of twenty-five years of marriage. Her kids were grown, her ex had taken off for West Virginia or Arkansas, some place where he could buy a mobile home and just drink beer in without disturbance. That suited her fine. The farther away the better.
They parted ways there in Allen County, she stayed and bought the ranch style house out off of 30. A white house with black shutters on it; big brown bushes covered the windows. She took a machete to em and chopped em out. Got rid of the bushes the weeds, fixed the roof and tuck pointed the chimney. Had a sky light in the kitchen that let in water when it rained and melted snow towards springtime. She got that fixed too. Only thing left to take care of was that shed out back. It’s amazing what people leave behind.
She knew it’d never take care of itself. The skinny brunette got up the gumption to take care of it. Went out to the back yard with two or three trash cans, some Hefty bags, a wheel barrow and a sledgehammer with red tape wrapped ’round it. She’d been wanting to get rid of that thing for a long time. Now was the right time.
With the flip of a wrist she opened the first box with a box cutter. The metal blade ran down the middle of the big box which was yellowed with age. Inside it she found a wedding dress, white with pearl stitching. It was a small dress, made for a petite woman. It looked like the one she wore so long ago at the VFW hall where purple sherbet punch was poured and wedding cake was sliced into. Those memories quickly came to her mind. Damaged goods, she thought to herself. The middle aged woman laughed and kept on emptying boxes into plastic receptacles. Outside storm clouds appeared. She decided not to rush. This would be an ongoing process.
In other boxes were all kinds of things. Shoes of various kinds were tossed in a box from top to bottom. There were tennis shoes, sandals, pumps, high heels, all of em fit her perfectly. She decided they were still too good to just be thrown away. So she took what she liked and placed the rest in a bag to take to Salvation Army.
There was one pair inparticular that made her think. They were a pair of old white shoes with flowers at the toes. When she was younger she wore a pair just like em. Way back before she had her first child. Used to wear em when they went dancing on Saturday nights. He’d twirl her ’round and she’d follow his lead. Followed his lead throughout the marriag til one day she stopped twirling. She just stood there in disbelief. Twenty-five years had gone by and she was tired of dancing. She was tired of being lead. She was tired.
In other boxes were books, old hard- covers like Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys, Encyclopedias, Sears catalogues. She thumbed through a couple and decided to pitch em. Nobody reads anymore, she said out loud. Nobody.
And the rain began to fall outside. She decided to wrap it up for the day. Thunder could be heard and a couple of lightning strikes cracked. So, she shut the doors to the shed and ran to the house getting soaked and wet. Laughing, the skinny brunette kept thinking about what she’d found that day. Just memories. Just memories.