Under a tree of wet blossoms, shimmering to life in the sun, one honey bee is circling around two burly men, who wave it off, with childlike dramatics...arms flailing. One of them, wearing heavy leather boots, leaves his deep imprints in the grass, still wet from yesterday's storm. I wince, as the toe of his left boot squashes a purple pansy that is growing along the border. Oh dear, her prized flowers,....they are like her babies! She has always had the greenest, thumb..and the prettiest yard on the block!
a white blossom rush hour traffic... a crushed pansy
lands on her shoulder.... bees circle the tree still beautiful in my palm...
a goodbye gesture droning with noise lines in her face
Both men seem irritated, and anxious to get on the road, as they stand next to the giant truck, which is parked against the curb. The shorter man, nurtures a butt of a cigarette between gloved fingers with such intensity, it's as if he were sentenced to be hanged at noon, and this was a final puff. He inhales deeply, then, after a careless toss of the stub, they both climb aboard, into the cab, and squeeze their husky frames into the cab, like two coiled Slinkys , ready to spring into action. They start up the engine, and trails of cigarette smoke are left to mingle with cloud-white petals, that drift from the tree.
smoke spirals up from a spent cigarette...... truck coughs black exhaust
two nosy neighbors watch from dark windows.... crows gather on grapevine
The moving van,... a huge, battered dinosaur, wearing a big red proclamation, "TWO BROTHERS-VAN AND STORAGE",... looks so out of place, parked along my street. I begin to feel it vibrate the sidewalk and it deafens our ears. Slowly, it begins to roll, and we watch, as it lazily, lumbers down the familiar street. It turns the corner, and disappears out of sight. I lean over to grab her hand, and she is crying
and I find myself breaking the promise not to.
muddy truck tires....
follow from behind
I suppose it shouldn't matter to me now, but can't resist, and lean down to pick up the discarded, lifeless cigarette butt, and walk it over next door, to the trash can, that still waits for Thursday's pick-up. I blow my nose and dry my eyes. It won't help her, if she sees me fall apart.
I remember the day she moved in, over twenty years ago.
We were strangers then, ...but sisters we became.
Now it seems all those years are packaged up inside those cardboard boxes, wrapped in newsprint, taped shut, now moving on to another state, to somewhere I don't belong.
Her husband gently clears his throat, as he patiently waits by their car, giving her one last moment.
Her eyes glisten with tears. Mine sting too...but I had promised I wouldn't cry...so I am biting my bottom lip. A quick hug.. "Yes...we'll write...we'll visit...we'll call!
Soon! I promise,.........soon!"
She hands me a box of tulip bulbs. "These are the red ones... the ones you loved so much, something to remember me by."... I want to plant some in the new place, but have been saving some for you too"...
"Next year when they bloom, think of me, will you? A part of me to keep you company."
She walks to her packed car, turns once more with that familiar smile, the same little wave, that she gave me on that very first morning, as she stood at her mailbox. She jumps in next to her waiting husband. He starts the engine, and soon their car is heading down the street, that is no longer her street. Around the turn at the corner, that is no longer her corner
Tomorrow the SOLD sign comes down.
Perhaps a new wave, another smile, someone gathering mail ...will brighten my day.
But today, .....I will plant some tulips.
my garden awakes coffee brings comfort
from muddy slumber.... sipped from her favorite cup ...
lively red tulips my cat for company
For Deb's Contest: Spring haibun