Heat kicked on in April. Another cold day. The walls inside the house were blank; no pictures. Just bare walls. Folding chairs were set up for imaginary friends to sit in. The old man spent days talking to himself. Talking about the weather, politics, things he’d seen on TV. He’d been that way for a long time. Ever since his wife died. Didn’t go out. Always inside that big house talking to himself. Talking to ghosts.
He took down all the pictures and paintings after she’d passed on. Said he never liked them anyway. Photos of when he was in the Navy. Wearing a uniform. Kissing her on the mouth. Holding her as if they were dancing. Pictures of dogs that had come and gone. An Irish Wolfe Hound named Norman. A German Shepard named Fritz. Colored photos of nieces and nephews playing on a swing set in someone’s backyard. He couldn’t remember. They were all put away in boxes. Piled up in the closet. The old man figured his time was coming up anyway. Thought he’d make it easy for whoever came in to cean up the place after he was gone.
There was one picture he kept in his top desk drawer. She was this blonde he’d met years ago in Virginia. Back when he was criss-crossing the country. Before he settled down. She rode horses and took photos of them for the local newspaper. If there was a riding event she’d be there with her camera. Shooting up film of horses jumping over things; horizantal poles, water holes, making a bee-line to the finish. She’d catch them winning by just a nose. They fell in love for six months. Ended in a terrible fight. She was very passionate. Passion would turn violent. He had to move on.
But, he kept that picture of her forever. Until he could no longer remember who she was. Now she was just some pretty blonde that he looked at once in awhile. It’s scary what we forget.
Heat kicked on in April. Another cold day.