The Estate Sale
It was hot and her thighs peeled apart inside a pair of baggy short shorts as she stepped from the car and onto carson. She’d never parked on that side of the street before and her mind’s eye saw a girl carting a clarinet, kicking a rock stop slowly in front of the house with the creepy bamboo lady inside. The sun was licking hot her wounded tissue and her back started to ache a little. “Fuck my back is toasted.” she said to the girl entering the warm air on the other side of the car. She stroked her burned skin lightly with her nails upside down, sweeping away from her head…. like she was taught to do.
“It’s a little red, yeah” said chick.
“I feel like someone put a wool blanket around me, it’s so dry out!” said Kea. They had just come from the beach, her bathing suit was still a bit damp, but from salt water or sweat… she didn’t know. Her hair had wrestled with the elements that day but she hoped she looked more like a mermaid than a bird’s nest. Sadly, she was wrong but her romantic illusion and relaxed attitude kept her from brushing it or putting makeup on. Free drinks and shade were what they were after when they saw the sign for the estate sale about two blocks away from Kea’s house. Kea was glad for the interruption. She wasn’t looking forward to going into the house where she grew up. She had moved out and now when returning, she would get this weird feeling that she was visiting someone who was terminally ill in a hospital. She felt sick and itched to leave and would start to imagine that it smelled like bleach. It wasn’t as bad when she was alone in the house.
They walked across the street which was quiet except for the sound of the sun slamming into the asphalt. A pool of sweat was beginning to form between Kea’s breasts, “shit I’m gonna get all pimply on my chest” she thought. Then she thought about the last time someone else had touched her between the breasts where the pool of sweat was forming.
“What’s an estate sale? Are they selling the house?” she said to Chick while flipping her hair around like a horse swatting at flies. “I think someone died… and they don’t have a will or something” Chick said as she shrugged and walked up into the house.
“Sad… I always wondered who lived here” Kea said to the sun.
The steel blue house was hidden behind a small forest of green bamboo looking plants that were shooting out of the ground like post growth spurt teenagers at a high school dance. Kea had always hated those plants. they almost conquered a small part of the deck in her backyard one summer a few years back. They were ugly and she never liked that this house had them all over the front yard instead of grass. Some of the forest had been chopped down to make room for a mountain of old tupperware to sleep soundly on a red tarp. She looked for Chick for some sort of support but she had already trotted off inside where Kea’s eyes couldn’t see. She was on her own outside and found herself tiptoeing lightly around the situation. She wasn’t quite ready to walk inside the house yet. She felt like an intruder and began to awkwardly shuffle through a pile of old sweaters on a tarp. This turned out to be a gold mine for old t-shirts with the name of her hometown on them. Torrance 75th anniversary, Torrance Farmer’s Market. Torrance YMCA, Torrance grower’s Association, each one a legacy to a story that Kea had never heard of yet could somehow still be familiar with. The things they make t-shirts for… she thought condescendingly as she folded some neatly into a pile. Pointless as they seemed, she was going to buy one anyway. Deep inside her, in a closet, behind some boxes and shoes and forgotten report cards you could find Kea’s love for her old town. “This woman really loved Torrance.” thought Kea. It was obvious to Kea that the clothes had all belonged to one person, so Chick must have been right about the definition of estate sale. Kea suddenly felt like the intruder again and set everything she had greedily hoarded into her arms back down on the blue farmer’s market tarp. Once again her mind powered up its projector and she watched home movies of her walking on that very square of sidewalk, avoiding the cracks and holding her breath.
“You have to hold your breath while your walking by the witch’s house!” said her brother.
She was so scared that she held her breath all the way to the end of the block then gasped “You didn’t hold your breath when we walked by cause you told me to hold my breath which means you were breathing cause you were talking!”
“No! I can talk without breathing!”
And the witch was forgotten and replaced with an argument over how one can talk normally without breathing.
Kea looked up from the sidewalk, waved and said an awkward hello to three people sitting outside who seemed to be on the other side of the situation. Kea wondered if they were friends of the “witch” or family. Had they gone to the funeral? Did she die recently? How did she die? How many kids did she have? Grandchildren? Was she happy? Alone? Scared? Heavy thoughts made the weight of the sun on her back triple as Kea stumbled for the shade on the side of the house.