A place for thought.

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From the six inch concrete curb next to the road to the three steps at the front porch the walkway is a six-foot wide path of uneven red clay brick, bricks lay side by side on unpacked gray clay. Over the years the bricks had settled in soft spots. Some of the bricks had been pushed up by roots, in spots. Especially hardy grasses found places between the tightly spaced bricks and sent up a few short shoots that seldom survived the heat of the day.

Over all the walkway is smooth enough, a person can trip but it’s more of a choice than a necessity.   The person, or the body of what had once been a person, did not trip; the blood pooling in one of the settled spots in the brick walkway tells a different story. She was thin, small, white, blonde. She dressed warm and well. She made an unremarkable brown hill at the upper end of the walkway; she had almost made it to the steps. Kids on their way to school caught the fur of her jacket, past a hedge of bushes, past trees and bushes, out of the corner of their eyes as they walked and played, if they saw her at all they saw a sleeping dog or a pile of leaves. She no longer cared, time could pass, flies could lay the eggs of their young, she no longer had cares.

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“You can’t mean it!”

“Two,” she said quietly, like I love you whispered in the dark.

“Come on, who’s it going to hurt?” her lips started to form the number three but she paused, giving him one last, undeserved, chance. He took his fingers away from the plate of still sizzling bacon.

“We are not animals,” she said. “We can wait until Toby sits with us and together we will pause for a moment of thanks.”

He accepted her leadership and refolded his napkin. He slid it under the edge of his empty plate. “So where is Toby?” he asked.

“Who wants to know?” Short, red headed, overweight Toby limped into the kitchen while he stuffed one tail of his wrinkled shirt into the front of his elastic waste band with one hand and rubbed his eyes with his other hand. He saw the pile of bacon and a grin covered his freckled face. Toby picked up a length of the almost too hot to touch pig meat and stuffed it into his mouth, chewed twice and asked, “you guys waiting on me?”   He scraped his chair across the polished floor and grabbed for a couple slices of toast as he sat down. Before Toby had finished adjusting his seat one of the slices of toast was wrapped around a second strip of bacon and a full half of the hastily made bacon sandwich filled his mouth. Mom and I bowed our heads and took a second to offer thanks while listening to the sound of Toby’s open mouthed chewing.

Raising my head I looked her in the eye, “you’re right Mom, we are not animals.”