What is no longer there…lush green vegetable gardens a water pump a half acre of beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, the sun blasting down on my 40 year old mother as she picks out weeds smoothes the soil and I play in the backyard under the enormous willow with its flowing branches and the music from a transistor radio plays somewhere inside the house as my sister gets ready for her date and we wait for the afternoon to pass. My mother insisting I eat a string bean raw and the crunch of it between my teeth and the richness of the afternoon because of nothing in particular except here in this time and place something still feels intact and real and a neighbor drops by in my tiny neighborhood by the water and life seems rich and perfect and whole. My father rushes into the backyard in a frenzy and examines the take from the garden his mouth watering demanding that we eat soon because he does not have much time and must get back to his job and put the finishing touches on a patio he has just poured and he is hungry so hungry for his pasta and the fresh tangy red sauce my mother made from the glowing garden tomatoes. He barely notices me making a mess as usual in the mud and dirt while my sister leaves through the front door for a summer date with girlfriends her hair curled, lipstick blood red, her skirt short enough to show her knees. Summer. I say the words in my mouth like I am eating a ripe cherry. I love the summer. Freedom, no school, freedom. Do whatever I want all day long. Bliss. I know it will end as each day passing kills my freedom but it can’t it mustn’t because once this day is gone once it is over it is over bye bye forever and even as a child I sense how fragile this is yet I take it all for granted. My mother stays forty and beautiful, my father virile and strong, my sister kind, smiling, excited about her life unfolding before her. Somewhere inside I am already grieving.