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Bermudagrass

This is a private yard, I say.  You can’t just decide to sleep anywhere you choose, you know.

I nudge his leg with my boot, careful of the bermudagrass I planted last year, after the drought of two summers ended with a month of rain.  Sowed the seed by hand, watered it twice a day (before and after work), fertilized it like the books all said.  Warned the neighbor kids with their life if they stepped foot on it, I don’t care what the excuse.  Stay off the damn grass; it’s all I ask.

I nudge his leg again, this time a little harder.  Nothing, just a little sigh.  His eyes still closed, his hands still resting across his chest like he’s on display for all the neighbors (and Sheila) to see.  That’s all I need.  Sheila and her sisters going on and on about how I can’t even keep sleeping vagrants out of the yard, how soon the yard will be a regular tent city.  As if I invited him.  As if I planted the grass just for him.  Once the three of them get going, it’s all I can do to keep my calm, to just go outside, water the grass, pluck out the weeds, anything to not have to hear all the ways that I’ve failed.  The list is long.  Remember that time, is how they start every story that always ends with me as the dupe and Sheila as the martyr.  Sometimes I do lose it, tell them to drop it, that life with Sheila isn’t exactly a bed of roses either, I’ve got my own stories about her, tell them to leave.  But they don’t leave; they just flick ashes into their empty soda cans and act like I said nothing. 

A fly moves across the bridge of his nose, and his face twitches at the fly’s soft footsteps, but still he sleeps.  He’s not going to get up any time soon, I know this.  He’s as planted now as the grass seeds that sprouted and took root in the soil I worked just for them.  The books said bermudagrass sets deep roots, stays alive even in droughts, survives even when trampled on.

I have never once laid on the grass, not once. 

Sheila’s on the porch now.  Soon she’ll be yelling at her sisters to come take a look at these two fools, these two imbeciles, passed out on the lawn.  And the three of them will gather on the edge of the porch and a new story will begin.

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