“Wow! Look at that house!” I gasped. The tangle of woody vines well above my head, I looked up squinting at the scattered sun. “They have bikes and mirrors and gnomes and everything!” A hundred eyes stared back at us, seeming to follow us as we passed. The lion’s stone mane shimmered and seemed to blow in the slight morning breeze.
“You should see the inside,” Daddy said. “Every inch is covered.”
“Wow,” I breathed. “Like a museum.”
“Yeah. But it’s just a home.”
The chickens clucked next door as we walked through the tunnel of green and things. We were on our way to Daddy’s work — fixing copy machines at the hospital.
I could see the house from the window in Daddy’s office. Being on the 5th floor had advantages — I had something to do while he fiddled with circuit boards.
I watched a preschool walk by, all the kids holding onto a long rainbow rope, the teachers its bookends. The kids looked towards the piles in the yard. I imagined them hopping like the bungalow’s stone frogs holding umbrellas or growling like its bronze bear in a tutu. One teacher shook her head, looked at the kids, back at the house, and looked down. She pulled the rope faster, let’s go. The other stared, mouth open, looking towards the open window. They marched on. But I imagined them dancing.
I turned towards Daddy as I heard the rip of papers. Time to shred the forgotten things people probably didn’t want to be found — old pay stubs, ID cards, resumes for new jobs. The things left behind that only Daddy ever touched.
“You know, they aren’t just placed there. They’re actually glued down,” Daddy said as we walked back to our car.
I looked again, admiring the glow of my golden lion statue in the setting sun.
“Mental illness,” Daddy breathed as he shook his head and looked toward the crack in the sidewalk. He gently stepped over.
I tucked my hand into my pocket to fidget with someone’s torn papers I had scavenged earlier. “Yeah,” I breathed back, looking in the house’s mirror and placing a strand of run-away hair behind my ear.
Katelyn Dunne is an alumna of University of the Cumberlands. She hails from and currently resides in Chicago, Illinois. Previously, she has been a Managing Editor at The Drowning Gull, Associate Editor at Zoetic Press, and Student Editor at Pensworth. Her writing and artwork have been published in Pensworth, The Albion Review, NonBinary Review, Aurora, The Poetry Marathon Anthology, and several of Z Publishing’s anthologies. In her spare time, she enjoys attending Catholic mass, eating vegetarian entrees, and teaching a classroom of enthusiastic toddlers.