by J. Bradley

Mitch and me were too busy figuring out how to handle Mom’s new form to take care of the lawn. We couldn’t tell the president of the HOA that, though, when she knocked on mom’s door and rambled on and on about how section 11 dot 5c states that all lawns in the neighborhood must be no more than three-quarters of an inch high during the summer months. Mitch wanted mom to come out and dissolve the HOA president, but I had to convince him we had enough issues with mom being no longer quite Mom.

Mitch and me flipped a coin to see who got to go outside and help get the HOA off our backs. I won, this time. Mitch scowled when I stepped outside wearing our dad’s floppy hat. It took a minute to get used to the cigarette and beer smell.

You sure you don’t need help, Mitch yelled. I shook my head. Mitch closed the door and turned up the Cubs game on TV real loud, something to drown out the yard noise or to help distract Mom so she won’t eat away at the house.

I opened the shed and stared at the lawnmower parked inside. I watched videos on the internet to prepare myself for this moment, the one where my dad wouldn’t be around anymore. I was afraid some part of him would rise from what’s left of him in the kitchen and scold me for touching his lawnmower, his lawn.

Stop, Mitch said. What happens if Mom hears the mower?

I stepped away from the lawnmower and locked the shed up. I looked back at the house and saw Mom seeping out the window, her pea-green mist burning the grass. 

J. Bradley lives at
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