Boy opened the blinds and looked outside at the sun shining on the wet pavement of the trailer park. Winds had done some damage that night. Trash cans were knocked over. Dogs rummaged through the garbage. Empty cans of Wolf Brand Chilli and plastic grocery bags littered yards and streets. A few shingles were blown away. Tossed out on Highway 41. Trucks dodging boxes too. Road kill laid there. Some dead raccoon. Maybe it was a ground hog.
A bush was uprooted in the side yard. It had brown limbs from the winter. Spring had pulled it up. Boy went outside to look at the damage. Boy and the old man had planted that bush when momma died a few years back. Some of her ashes were laid at the roots. We come from the earth and we return to the earth, the old man said. Then he sprinkled her down into the ground. Boy kept a handful in a plastic baggy.
He tried to stand the bush up in the hole, but, the roots were broken. Split in two. He looked at it. Defeated. Boy took out his Zippo and lit a cigarette. He then lit the top of the bush and down at the bottom. The young man said a prayer to God on behalf of his mother and fanned the flames with an Indian blanket he had in his Dodge. People looked on from their trailers.
The old man came out and saw the burning bush. Asked him, what are you doing? Boy just looked at him. Then went on looking at the fire. The old man repeated himself, boy what are you doing?
She’s gone daddy.
Who is gone?
She’s been gone. Been gone for awhile now. She ain’t returning. She’s up in heaven. Singing with the angels boy.
Now she is. She was right here. Keeping an eye on us. Growing a little bit each season. Resting in the winter. Awake in the spring. Devil came last night. Look around you. Those winds. That’s from the devil. He didn’t want her watching us no more. So, he blew her away. God scooped her up. Took her into his loving arms. She’s gone now daddy. She’s gone for good.
The flames on the bush began to burn out. Both men sat there watching. There was a silence between them. Ashes formed on the ground. Gray and blackened chunks of wood in a pile. The old man knew his days were coming to an end. Winds started blowing again.