She hadn’t been there since her hair was a fine, singing copper color and had hung down to her waist. She hadn’t wanted to see it, but they made her. Said it was “important.” They even made special arrangements so her wheelchair could get all the way out there. She hadn’t wanted to see it, because it would be nothing like she remembered, and she was right – it was almost unrecognizable. The paint that her mother had lathered on while wearing men’s work pants that didn’t fit her was blackened into crisps, and she didn’t even remember what color it was. The windows were broken. Most of the shingles had slid off the roof and were covered in moss around the foundation of the house. There was no door, so the black, scorched house seemed to gape at her, as if to ask why she was only now coming back.
She hadn’t wanted to see it, but she really hadn’t wanted to go inside, not knowing what would be left of the fire, but since she was in a wheelchair and they didn’t listen to her, there was nothing to be done. There were lumps of ash that she remembered to be her furniture. “This was my living room.”
They nodded politely, and after a moment moved her slowly to the next room. It was a museum to them.
Two rooms after it was her room. One or two of the floorboards had been broken in. When she motioned to them, one of the younger ones fished out a box that she hoped wouldn’t be there.
The metal was shot to shit, but the photographs were intact, albeit a bit stuck together.
They handed one to her. It was him. She put the tip of her finger on his chest.
They looked so different, standing slightly apart so as not to attract any unwanted attention.
That was the only part that was as she remembered it. The light reflecting off of her skin and absorbing into his, but they were still one. They had always said so, anyway.
They hadn’t married. He had died before they had the chance.
She asked them if they could leave, and they silently complied, shuffling behind her in almost a funeral procession. The one pushing her chair paused briefly, reached for a closed door.
“Don’t. I think that he’s still in there.”
Words, songwriting, and cover by Ella Luna. Guitar backing by Tim Wong.