The Sequester Begins

“I’ll make this barn into a basketball court,” JJ said.
            “Why don’t you just keep it a barn,” Lila said.  “Or not buy a farm on the side of a mountain.  Especially since, y’know, you’re not a farmer.”  They were looking at real estate.  Or, rather, JJ was looking at real estate and Lila was looking annoyed.  They were early and the agent hadn’t shown up yet.  Patches of snow in depressions dotted a sodden hillside.  The barn was red and stately with a dirt floor and was filled with yard equipment and children’s toys.  Two red and yellow plastic toddler cars were lying nearby on a twisted heap of garden hoses.
            “I don’t want a barn, I want a basketball court with a roof,” JJ said. They stood just inside the doorway and looked at the detritus of someone else’s life.
            “Why was this all just left here,” Lila asked and kicked at a soccer ball that had rolled down from a toy pile.  There was a large box, an unopened and unassembled trampoline, along a wall.  Maniacally happy children were jumping and laughing in the sunny picture on the box.  “It looks abandoned.” 
            “The guy told me they left quick.”  JJ paused to look sidelong at Lila.  “It’s a foreclosure.”
            “What!”  She turned on him instantly.  “You can’t just occupy someone else’s place.  That’s bullshit and you know it.”
            “Someone else is just gonna buy it.”
            “Don’t give me that.”  Lila was right up close to him now.  When she turned on someone it was like a manager getting in an umpire’s face.  She was small but wanted to show you it didn’t matter.  “Look at all this stuff.  You’ll probably just throw it in a dumpster.”
            “This place is perfect,” JJ tried.
            “Perfect for hiding out, for being away from everyone.  Why do I always have to be the one to keep you from destroying yourself?”
            A car door closed and a man in a sport jacket started toward them from the road, picking his way around the snowy spots.
            “I just want a place for myself.”
            “Reclusive, rich, and selfish is no way to live.”  She turned from him and started back toward the road.  “What happened to you,” she yelled as she walked away.  Lila stalked past the real estate agent without looking.  The agent made to put his hand out but then just turned and watched as she walked away.
            “Is everything ok,” the agent asked as he approached JJ in the doorway of the barn.
            JJ watched Lila open the car door and get in the passenger side.  He thought of their time together and how she always pushed him to be better.  What the hell did she get out of it?  He always felt like her project.  Stubbornness and doing the right thing tugged away inside him and he just looked toward the road.  This is why they stopped seeing each other.  She was always right!  At least about things like this.  Ethical things.  Karmic things.
            “I’ll take it,” JJ said abruptly.  “Where do I sign?”
            “Don’t you even want to see the house?”
            “Fuck the house,” he said and turned to shake the realtor’s hand.

2 thoughts on “The Sequester Begins

  1. Pingback: Tweaked and Compressed | The Thickening

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