Poetry

Unsolved Mystery in an Upper Middle-Class Suburb

In this suburb the lawns, large or small, are neatly trimmed—if not mercilessly
                                                                                      manicured
(we rarely know the people but we do recognize their lawns).
But we did know Vicki, however. Shortish, blond, happy, with her little
                                                                                                white terrier.
Her dog wanted to be friends with ours, but ours wasn’t having any…
Vicki’s husband drives a wide-body white ute. Or, at least, he did.
In the years we’ve lived here, we only saw him once.
Then Vicki disappeared (East Timor, Solomon Islands, we found out later).
The ute didn’t move, although one day, months ago, the tray held a lot of
                                                                             flattened cardboard cartons.
The lawn disintegrated. Weeds took over. Even the new concrete footpath was
                    being covered in weeds (here we look after our footpaths, too).
Months passed. We never saw the dog anymore or the daily walks Vicki
                                                                                                had with it.
We’re not ourselves purists about lawns or weeds, incidentally,
But we wondered, just the same.
The ute never moved. The weeds grew taller. Palm fronds fell, adding to the
                                                                                                air of neglect.
Weeks after Vicki returned from overseas, we went over and offered to mow the
                                                                   lawn, not asking any questions.
Though maybe the offer itself seemed like a question.
Vicki said she’d get someone to come and mow it. Eventually they did.
More weeks passed.
By this time, even the weeds looked neglected. The ute stayed put. We could
imagine it blending into the background in time like those rusty tin sheds
                                                                  in long-forgotten paddocks.
Vicki wasn’t a hippie, making some anti-bourgeoisie statement.
She was Vicki, and we thought something very sad had happened to her. And
                    there was no-one she could turn to. And that was even worse.
We felt like weeds.

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