Another Place

As each day ebbed and flowed like the coffee in her pot, she watched and waited, scanning out her kitchen window. The sun would scrape the trailer park, skimming its golden tongues along the manicured postage stamp lawns in the morning and warp the shadows of flamingos and garden gnomes into demons at dusk. Still, he didn’t come home. The never-ending long-haul continued. Even though she knew he was never coming back, she kept her routine exactly the same. A second plate of eggs with bacon–crispy just how he loved it as a child–would sit on the table until lunch, then a peanut butter and honey sandwich without, the crust stuffed into a Tupperware container before dinner, when a small serving of tuna helper or braised tilapia or Greek salad would sit and wait next to her as she nibbled through her own meal. Even though the patrolman said there was no way he could possibly have survived that wreck out on 154, the extra plate stays full, and the porch light burns, trying to attract him to his mother’s unyielding flame, until dawn crawls through the thicket on eastern side of the park. Just in case.

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