by Andrea Lehner
I met Karen six years ago when she walked across the street with a beautiful arrangement of fresh cut flowers from her garden to welcome us to the neighborhood. I remember feeling shabby and dirty from moving so many boxes all morning, but she was bright, and clean, and charmingly friendly. She rattled on with a well-rehearsed introduction of our quaint little block then summarized it all with a wave toward her own house: it was the one with the homeowner association’s “Yard of the Year” sign peeking nonchalantly from the petunia-lined footpath. Sipping my morning coffee, I watched as the moving truck pulled up across the street and a young couple excitedly ran up to the door to unlock it for the first time. Karen’s house had sat empty for nearly eight months now, and it would be a relief to have neighbors living there again. The young pair looked incredibly happy as they began carrying boxes into their new home; I wondered if anyone had told them yet that the previous owner had parked her car on the interstate, called her ex-lover’s answering machine, and then walked in front of an oncoming semi.
Andrea Lehner is a writing student at UC Denver.