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Monday, 29 September 2014

Lettuce

I'm sitting on a double wooden rocking chair on the porch, smoking my e-cigarette and listening to a hungry cat that's crying at my feet, when Linda comes out and we start a conversation on marriage.

'He was an addict. Meth,' she tells me, when describing her husband who just a few days previously has become ex, 'and in a fit of rage he did $25,000 damage to my house. Totally destroyed it,'
'Shit a brick,' I say, 'what happened to him?'
'Oh, he's in prison now,' she tells me, 'and he sends me letters asking me to get back together with him,'
'Woah,' I say, not knowing what else to say.
'Yeh,' she says, 'He was my next door neighbour, I knew him from when he was a little bitty sweet boy next door,'
'Wait,' she says, 'I'll show you something,'
Linda gets a folder of photographs from her car.
'Here's what he did,' she says, handing me the folder.
In the folder, which looks like it might have been compiled for evidence, are about 25 A4 size prints of photographs featuring what the former husband has done to the former marital home.
It looks as if there has been a hurricane go through it.
It is like a shot of a scene of a natural disaster from the front page of a newspaper.
'The kitchen cabinet doors were all over the front lawn,' Linda says.
I go through the whole book saying 'fuck' again and again, shocked that one person could do so much damage in one run through.
In one of the photos Linda's mother stands in a doorway, looking across the damage, her mouth slightly opened, her eyes slightly frightened.
There are broken tables, broken beds, broken pictures and frames, clothing thrown about the floor, broken bicycles, the refrigerator doors hang open and it has been dragged across the kitchen floor.
Almost everything is broken and almost nothing looks like it has been left where it belongs, except for a row of tidy high-heeled shoes on a shelf in the bedroom.
And an undamaged lettuce on the kitchen counter.
'That was my only contribution to the mess. I had thrown that at him earlier in the day during an argument,' she says, 'And then later, in the evening, I came home to this.'





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