At dinner, as Allie chattered about her kindergarten class, Ben would mumble, “Um-hmm,” or “Really?” between glances at his phone or the second hour of the same local TV news as the first.
“C’mon, Ben. Let’s take a walk,” Allie said.
“Aww, Al,“ he said, but checked his phone and saw he had a free hour. “Okay, let’s go.”
Tonight, Allie didn’t lead them past the park. Instead, they silently ambled through their old neighborhood.
Allie stopped and stared at their first rental. Ben kept walking.
“It’s still empty,” Allie said.
“What?” Ben said, looking up and not finding Allie at his side.
“This place. Since we left, it always was for sale and still looks vacant, practically abandoned.”
“Hmmph, guess so. C’mpn, let’s get back before dark.”
All the way, Allie conducted a dinner-style conversation with Ben, only in her mind.
You walked past our house like you do the homeless guys in the park, just part of the scenery, colorless, ignorable.
What’d happen if you looked into its face, its vacant window eyes veiled with webs and secrets. Afraid it’d feel haunted looking back at you?
If you stopped to consider this shell full of lonely, would you see its lively times of youth, of family, stolen by time and disinterest? Nah. That’d require recalling yesterday when you barely can grasp today.
Yeah, move along, Ben. After all, just another part of the scenery.
Breakfast was silent next morning. As the news repeated, Ben barely noticed.