I left the dirty black footy sock on the ground hoping the gusty March winds would whisk it away. I did sweep up almost every one of the mouse gnawed crayons along with mini mouse poops that were scattered throughout the chewed pieces of Red Orange, Goldenrod, Pacific Blue and Forest Green wax bits. The cold cement floor looked like the happy confetti of a parade but it really was the sad remains of a storage bin left empty.
I suppose it could seem hopeful: a storage unit left empty, the lock off, door down, with the leavings of a life’s chapter strewn across the barren gray slab.
He came into the office today to sign the vacate notice. He wasn’t past due and he offered to sweep up. He seemed pleasant and soft spoken behind his purple dipped beard and shabby biker’s leathers. His navy skull cap pulled down low over his forehead with a long, thick, dark braid down his broad back, dusty camo pants shoved into worn dark combat boots. He was a working man; his big hands had scraped knuckles, thick calluses: maybe a mechanic or a mason.
She sat out in the battered, red wine colored Jeep Cherokee, twisted toward the back as she shushed another man’s 3 children, small they were, 2 mussed blond heads in mismatched car seats, the third a little bigger, unbelted in the center, clutching his Thomas the Train. I see her trying to quiet the fussy kids so they won’t irritate the new man in the biker’s jacket. I recognize the unease of blending stuff and expectations and families.
As I put the yellow lock on the latch indicating that the unit is ready for a new rental I see the dirty black half sock stuck to the webbing of the security fence. Percy the Engine sits upright on the unit lip edge, smiling, awaiting the return of a tearful toddler who will never come back.