1. I removed another shovelful of dirt
2. Just stay quiet
3. It was less than a second but it changed everything


This time I couldn’t get started. I had a page or two of two stories that went nowhere, then started this one without enough time to really get into it. None of the prompts ever got incorporated. Oh, well.

There simply isn’t enough time to tell you everything about Jennifer Truitt. For the first thirty years of my life I didn’t know she existed although she lived just a couple of houses away from my family for all of that long time.

People didn’t move so often in those days. By the time I met Jenny, she’d lived in the same house for nearly forty years, first with a young husband and then, after his death, alone and remote. My parents knew about her tragic life, everybody did, but they didn’t share the knowledge with us. All the kids in our neighborhood—twelve of us in those days—avoided the blue house as we played hopscotch on sidewalks and wandered through the alleys searching for the perfect hiding place.

The blue house might have been haunted, or full of raging wild animals, or home to a bunch of loonies. All we knew was that we’d best stay away. And so we did, until we were all grown and gone. I’d never once seen Jennifer Truitt.

I moved to Seattle, and found a love of my own, and it wasn’t until my father died when I was nearing my thirty-first birthday that I returned to the old neighborhood. Everything was different then, My adult eyes saw the plaster cracks and the fading paint, and it was obvious that there were some vacant homes near the place where my mother still lived. The houses all looked small, with trees that towered over them, trees that my father and I had planted as saplings so that I could could earn a Boy Scout badge.