The girl paused at the entrance, a hand resting against the wall and eyes surveying the broken panes, cracked floor, and dust coated counters where tiny prints crisscrossed the elevated desert. Beside the sink dishes awaited cleaning.
“Anna, have you washed those dishes yet?” The rough, distant voice walked near to a cough and stumbled into throat clearing.
A heavy exhale preceded lowering her hand and grimacing. Anna wiped her hand on her threadbare jeans. “I’m about to, Mama.”
Rolling her eyes and tipping her head back, Anna shook her head and waited for several breaths to cycle through her lungs. She increased her volume. “Right now, Mama!” At the sink she shoved the handle back on the faucet. Brown sludge resembling oil gushed into the sink and aging pipes rumbled unseen. “Damn…” Sometimes the water cleared if she let the tap run. Sometimes.
Both hands shoved dark hair behind her shoulders. Beyond the soil-collecting sill and cracked pane, dirt blew across the tortured property and carried away the last needles clinging to the stunted evergreen. Words once heard, the source forgotten, tumbled through her mind like the trash passing her vision: A wasteland where once there was abundance. The drift was another inch taller behind the house next door…at least, what was left of the house. Watching the home burn was an early memory conjured each time the charred, collapsed roof came into view.
Why clean-up the debris when so few need homes? She wordlessly recited the official explanation, an explanation her brother often cited, an explanation she tried to adopt, but the words turned to dust on her tongue before they became sounds.
Movement to the right. Anna leaned left. Dar was sitting on the crumbling curb in front of the destroyed rental, his feet set wide and his head low, the wind to his back, his collar raised. She narrowed her eyes and reached to the glass to clear her view…
To read the remainder of Part 1 please join me on my website HERE and remember that Part 2 will appear tomorrow!