I always wondered, though, what the fathers felt as they drove up the street they used to drive down every night, and whether they really saw their former houses, whether they noticed how things got frayed and flaky around the edges now that they were gone.
I wondered it again as I pulled up to the house I’d grown up in. It was, I noticed, looking even more Joad-like than usual. Neither my mother nor the dread life partner, Tanya, was much into yard work, and so the lawn was littered with drifts of dead brown leaves. The gravel on the driveway was as thin as an old man’s hair combed across an age-spotted scalp, and as I parked I could make out the faint glitter of old metal from behind the little toolshed.
We used to park our bikes in there. Tanya had “cleaned” it by dragging all the old bikes, from tricycles to discarded ten-speeds, out behind the shed, and leaving them there to rust. “Think of it as found art,” my mother had urged us when Josh complained that the bike pile made us look like trailer trash. I wonder if my father ever drove by, if he knew about my mother and her new situation, if he thought about us at all, or whether he was content to have his three children out there in the world, all grown up, and strangers.
--Jennifer Weiner, Good in Bed
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images: abandoned farm, Dublin, Ohio