One black sandal. Set aside and hope to find mate.
Two paper cups. Toss in trash.
Three mismatched socks. Put in laundry and hope to find mates.
Four chrome contraptions of unknown origin or purpose. Hide in bottom of trash and try not to feel guilty.
Five gallons of dirt. Commit vandalism.
9:00 pm Saturday night. I hoist a bucket of dirt into Paula's back seat and drive out into the rain. Two years ago, I dug up a spot to plant a couple perennials and didn't know what to do with the dirt. At the old house, I would have dragged it down to the marshy land behind the house.
Here, manicured grass runs down to the bank of the pond. I put the dirt in the bucket and the bucket in the garage and tripped over it for two flippin' years. No telling how many times I've looked at that dirt and missed my old yard, my old life. It became a symbol of not just how different life is now but how stuck I felt about it all. I didn't know what to do, so I did nothing.
It is way past time to deal with the dirt. I drive to a field beside a neighborhood under construction (or at least, a neighborhood that was under construction when things were still being built) and park on a paved street as far as possible from the street lights. I sit for a few minutes, heart pounding, watching for cars in the distance. Nothing but blackness in every direction. I pull the key, open the door, and slide the seat forward. Hauling the bucket from the back seat, I pinch my finger between the bail and the door and bite my lips to keep from squealing.
Three steps past the curb, I dump the dirt into the weeds. Such a small heap. It's nothing. No one could possibly care about such a little mound of dirt in a field that still needs to be graded. I could have done this two years ago. I should have done this two years ago.
The bucket makes a hollow thunk when I toss it back into the car. I leap in and pull away quickly then slow down, afraid of drawing attention. Half-way home, lights stab my eyes from the rear view mirror. I shrink down into the seat and practice my speech: "Just a little dirt, Officer. From my garden." But nothing happens. No red lights. No siren. No problem. When the car turns off, I breathe for the first time in several minutes.
Back home by 9:10. I wash out the bucket and put it on one of the new shelves, no longer a symbol of anything. Just a bucket.