Painted Lady

He saw it. Looked in his rear view mirror and there it was. Sticking out in colors of yellow and purple. The porch light was on. It was two o’clock in the morning. He parked his truck on the side of the street and got out. There she was. The house he grew up in.

They’re called painted ladies. Two story houses that were built at the turn of the century. Had a downstairs and an upstairs, dining room and a living room, a kitchen and three bedrooms with a bath and a half. Most of the family’s time was spent in the kitchen. There was a round table where he and his brother would sit and watch mom cook up ham and eggs in the mornings, and chicken in the evenings. It was always chicken. Done two different ways; baked, or, fried. The cast iron skillet was well seasoned.

For a long time he looked at that house. Remembered getting the belt several times for misbehaving. Thought about discussions they used to have. Prayed for his brother who had passed on; was missing for days. The whole county went looking for him. Found him on the banks of the river. The case was never solved. Chalked it up as a suicide. That was when they left town.

Mom and dad quit talking after that. No more family discussions. Just silence at meals; when they had them.

And he looked at that painted lady some more. Got in his Ford and drove off.

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