Suburbia in Recovery

December 4, 2007
By Leah Casey, Littleton, CO

South Estes Way, across the street. There are four visible houses, the same as the amount of different styles in the neighborhood. All are painted variations of white: beige, tan, sand, and off white. The man in the driveway of the off white house is sitting on his heels, washing the silver hubcap of his red truck with a rag. He is dressed in an orange hat, black hoodie, and khaki shorts. His lawn is a glittering field of snow. The garage is open. A ladder sits to the side, open.

There is the sound of metal clashing with pavement and ice. A woman is equipped with a shovel, hacking at the ice in the street. Her husband is standing in the driveway watching: as a matter of fact, he is yelling instructions. His voice seems distant, making the words incomprehensible. His hands are at his hips, his elbows pointed, forming a rounded triangle. Their little Jack Russell terrier is barking at the stream of water from melted snow. She takes a drink. And then she runs away. She barks again and runs back. The lady with the shovel laughs. It echoes out around her, like rings on a radar system.

The grass is dead. There are pine needles littering the lawn where the snow has melted. But there is no pine tree nearby. Leaves lie there too, brown in color. They feel crunchy. They break apart and crumble gently to the ground, catching on the gentle bursts of breeze, rising and falling in the most peaceful way.

The sound of distant cars brings the smell of exhaust. It has the taste of pollution-it is the taste of the city. Birds chirp loudly, unseen but well heard. They bicker back and forth, cawing. Has spring finally arrived?

The red car directly in front of me is sleek and attractive, but caked in unsightly mud. The newly washed red truck is a different kind of red. A red that has not been seen in months. It is clean. Shiny.

South Estes Way, across the street: suburbia in recovery.

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