Under the Wind Chimes

There’s a wall of foliage around the back perimeter of my property. I don’t know what it consists of – bushes and trees and vines and shit. I don’t know how it happened, how it grew up that way. It just did. You couldn’t plan it if you wanted to, it’s that perfect. None of the plants are that sort that chokes out other plants, so they live and thrive in a dense half-circle of living, breathing wall that thins out a little bit where it approaches the back of the house. There’s a giant live oak in the center of the yard, and its hundred-year-old branches, dripping with Spanish moss, provide a roof of sort.

It’s private, is what I’m trying to get at here. It feels separate. Like a little subsection of the world set apart from the middle class suburban housing development that surrounds us all here.

From the front, my house is unremarkable. The house itself is a light, yellowish tan. The trim around the windows is painted a flat brick red, and the shutters are an almost-whimsical teal. The small porch hosts a porch swing no one ever uses. A small chair. A large potted plant. Climbing roses are planted in the side yards – both sides of the house – but there are no trellises for the vines to climb on. The branches grow straight up, then dip and sway their thorn-covered selves, blocking what would seem to be access to the back yard, but isn’t.

When I am out in the world I am exactly what you see. There is nothing more. But it’s here that I can be – for lack of a better word, and do please pardon the cliche – myself. This is my home. My real home – not the home implied by the teal shutters and the unused porch swing.

You expect me to tell you something now. To tell you what else is here, or who I am when I am back here in the circle of foliage. That’s the way this sort of story goes, isn’t that right? I won’t, though. I don’t. This is mine – as implied by the oak tree and its Spanish moss. The various trees and bushes and vines and living clutter that provide the fence that allows this to be. That is made explicit by the rose bushes and their guardian vines. This is private. It is not for you.

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Cynthia Lugo

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