The house burnt to the ground and melted the blue carpet to the concrete steps.
Grandma’s crooked willow stands in the back yard, big with all the years since childhood. The yard seems smaller even without the house to fill it up. The well is fenced around and heavy wooden planks crisscross its gaping mouth. The cherry tree is gone and all the yard flowers have been crowded out by scrubby field growth.
The barn still stands, the red roof faded to pink. I tear through blackberry brambles that tug at my clothes and the bare skin of my arms to reach the faded door. I grab hold of the thick wooden handle, smooth with years of sweat, and lift the weight off the broken hinge. The door scrapes open enough to squeeze through into the darkness. The hay and leather smell is strong. The floor is rotted through and the dust I’ve stirred up floats in a slice of sunlight.
The years slip out through the spider webs and I see Queenie with her puppies, myself as a child.
This is where I saw Uncle Hop after he died.