The house had sat vacant for nearly three months. Old, still, silent.
We had to clear a spider web from the steps to even walk up to the front door. There were puddles of gnats in random places throughout the house. Cobwebs in corners, and spider eggs in the skylights. The musty smell, shut tight, curtains drawn, dust settled.
We threw on a faucet, and then the washing machine. We rebooted the house alarm and reset the clock on the microwave. We discovered some spikey pieces of beets in the fridge that had withered away to wisps. And two rotten lemons spreading soft mold on the counter. The leaves of the plants we left behind, surrounding the pots like halos on the ground.
And then we started to scrub and mist and cleanse and vacuum and mop. Yet it was as if the dirt was multiplying as we went. But focusing on this was the only control I could get in this pandemic racist world full of death and suffering.
Hours of this passed. It was getting late, the jet lag didn’t bother us if we kept moving though. And then I saw it, under the sink, deep in the corner – a tail, maggots, a mouse trap gone off. My adrenaline shot up. I raced to check the other traps and discovered another mouse, who knows how long he had been gone either.
Neither one of them a good candidate for survival.