After some time, the door loses front stage and he counts the persimmons littering the pavement of his own front yard. One… two… three… When he gets to nineteen, he stops. Somewhere in his head he knows what comes next, but he doesn’t want to remember. With a stick, he punctures the soft flesh of one and watches the juice bubble and seep–the color of a summer sunset. He wonders how it tastes. Mom won’t eat them, but Greg used to throw them away, never leaving them on the walkway mushy and sweet smelling. Greg hasn’t come home in forever. His house is next door with the big blue truck, but his home is here. He can’t remember when exactly that came to be, but he knows Greg is a part of him. He taught him how to fish, how to ride a bike, how to cry with all his might, how to wrestle and how to face the dark.

Every night he waits as long as he can for Greg. Every morning he wakes up as early as he can and runs to Mom’s room, but she is alone. Days and days, maybe even months, have gone by and Greg has not come home. It leaves him gaping inside, like a hollow log, the kind little critters make into nests. But it isn’t cozy.

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