I have been promising myself that I was going to begin participating in the #FridayFlash for several weeks now. Secretly, I have been reading what others have been writing wondering if/when I was going to start. Today seemed to be a good day. This was one of my Lighthouse entries for the one hour challenge a few months ago. I rewrote it, expanding it just a bit.
Hope you like it.
He spent some time hanging photos of Rosie and the kids. Dinner was a quick sandwich and a salad as he unpacked some of the kitchen supplies. He went outside as the sun began to drift below the trees. Sitting in the chair, sipping a beer, savoring his peace and quiet at last, crickets began to chirp.
The noise, the constant roar of cars on the street outside the house, the honks, squeals, the revving engines had become too much.
“I can’t even think without being interrupted,” Joseph Smith said to his son one night. Well, at least tried to. The last two words were drowned out by an eighteen wheeler passing no more than twenty yards from his front door.
Mitch waited until the roar died before answering. “Did you call that real estate agent again?”
“Yes, and he has a contract for four times what I paid for this place,” Joseph answered with a snarl.
He bought the house just after he married Rosie. At that time, it had been just close enough to town you could walk to the store in less than twenty minutes. Every house had a yard, not a strip of grass that took only five minutes to mow. The neighbors were all friendly and the road in front of the house was quiet, except for Saturday afternoons and Sunday morning.
Now, he had buildings pressing in on either side of his property. It was late morning before the sun actually touched his yard and he never got to see a sunset anymore. The trucks, cars, motorcycles and semis never ceased and over the years the noise had increased.
Joseph didn’t wait to hear his son’s answer. “Can you look at some houses with me on Saturday?”
“Ummm, sure Dad,” Mitch answered reluctantly.
Saturday dawned gloomy and cool. A light rain drizzled down as Mitch met his dad and the perky little real estate agent at her office. She poured coffee and handed out sheets of houses she thought Joseph might be interested.
“These three,” Joseph indicated with an age-worn finger. All the brochures he selected were smaller, two-bedroom cottages outside of town.
By the third house, the skies had grown darker and cool droplets soaked the three as they hurried to the house. But even through the rain, Joseph could not hear the rumble of the highway almost ten miles away. Mitch knew that look in his father’s eye when the older man said he wanted to come back on a sunny day.
The house needed a bit of work, new windows, new siding, but it was quiet. The yard was huge, large enough for all of the grandkids to play under the long arms of the oak trees. The garage had plenty of space for his car and the ‘72 Nova he had in Mitch’s barn. When Joseph went to look at it the second time, the only thing he heard was the whisper of the breeze through the trees.
In record time, the papers were signed and Mitch called his brothers and a few friends to make a few minor updates to the house. Blue paint was rolled in the bed rooms. Modern windows were hung in place of the leaky old ones. Nice Berber carpet was laid in the living room. In the mean time Joseph packed his remaining memories of the house he had lived in for nearly fifty years.
It was tough, but time to say goodbye. He looked one last time as a huge truck rumbled by and thought he saw the old house shudder.
Boxes of things stacked waist-high greeted him. The heaviest furniture Mitch and his friend had already heaved and strained into the rooms. Joseph stood at the door enjoying the silence as Mitch’s truck rolled out of the drive. Dinner was a sandwich and salad as he unpacked more of the kitchen things. When the sun began to slide past the trees, he grabbed a beer and sat outside to enjoy the silence.
As the evening cooled down, a cricket began to chirp.