Posted 15 Jun 2012 18:41
Category: Short Story
I was never fond of where I grew up, it wasn’t exactly welcoming. I resided in a one story townhouse, sharing a single wall with the neighbors that constantly moved in and out. The thinness of the wall allowed us to listen to the muffled sound of domestic violence, a late night party, or the strange noises of fornication. Being under the eye of an overprotective, paranoid father, I didn’t mind. It kept my dull life interesting. Hideous brown carpet was spread throughout the house, with the exception of the dim lit kitchen, laid out with cheap, peeling tiles. Outside crabgrass was sprawled across our fairly large yard, along with a plethora of weed species, encaged by a chain-link fence. The rapid growth of our diseased lawn was unnatural, within a week of a fresh cut the weeds managed to grow knee high. But as ugly as our yard was our father had a strange obsession with maintaining it.
My sister and I dreaded Sunday mornings. We’d hideout in our bedroom hoping no one would notice our presence, but sooner or later we are ordered outside to help with the nurturing of our weed-ridden garden. The sun would hurt our eyes, due to our lack of exposure to the natural light. We’d squint and moan in agony, hoping our father would show pity and allow us to head back inside, usually to no avail. The job we were always ordered to do was pick the weeds, I can’t help but laugh at the thought each time I think about it. Our yard had no grass, it was all weeds. I could understand picking the weeds growing along the walls of our house and the fence, but whatever didn’t resemble our beloved crabgrass had to be plucked and placed within our plastic Publix bags. Within minutes of our weed-picking our arched backs are already aching, beads of sweat collect on our brows and trickle down the sides of our faces. The sunrays lapped at the back of our neck, praying in our minds that a cloud will show mercy and provide us with shade.
We would feel the eyes of our father observing our every movement. He would constantly stop his mowing to point out a patch of weeds we knowingly avoided, considering it was in the path of the mower. He’d stop and wait for us to clear his way before proceeding. The deafening roar of the mower’s engine rang in my ears. We continued filling our Publix bags, as he’d often stop to inform us what we did wrong or what we could’ve done better. My sister and I would take turns finding refuge from the blistering sun against the wall of our little pink home, not making it seem as if we were trying to escape the productiveness of our labor.
Our landlord supplied a single lawnmower to share amongst our neighbors; no one wanted to be the one stuck with an empty gas tank. So in order to prevent doing so one of our friendly neighbors appears on our yard. My sister and I were hard at work, and our father was hard at his dictating to notice. The man had tattoos inscribed over every limb of his body with an annoyed look on his face, “What the hell are you doing?”, he shouted over the roar of the mower, “Picking weeds while the motor is running?” he stared my father in the eyes. My sister and I looked up at our savior, trying our hardest to keep the grins from spreading across our faces. My father hesitantly turned off the motor, trying to explain his reasoning to our neighbor. He was defeated, ashamed; he knew that man had every right to be as irritated as he was. He was too busy picking at our wrongdoings to notice his own faults. We quietly dismissed ourselves from the scene as our savior continued shouting profanities to our guilty father. We knew it wouldn’t be the last of our picking weeds, but we’ll never forget that day. It always gets me smiling. You shouldn’t be picking weeds while the motor is running.
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