The Lost Kitchen
Piece by piece, slowly being dismantled
We would walk pass him every day, a man sitting on a chair in his yard. We’d mosey by with our huge dog, and he would be minding his tiny Yorkshire terrier. While the humans exchanged pleasantries, the terrier would throw himself against the chain link fence with a great wallop of offensive yapping that never impeded the bigger dog’s sniffing duty. The man was possibly in his late seventies, straight-backed, tall, handsome still, his best feature the humor in his eyes. Our stops grew longer during the Covid days, someone new to talk to, someone who was fun to linger with outside for awhile. We talked about our weird dogs, sometimes the news, a little neighborhood hearsay, and the weather. Then our dog would pull and his would retreat and the humans exchanged goodbyes.
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Sometime in March a For Sale sign appeared on his house. He said the house was in receivership and he was preparing to move. We worried about him for the rest of our walk: Where would he go? We gleaned from our years of conversation that he had sons. It seemed that either his wife was unwell or had died. There was an underlining sadness to his usual cheerfulness, but he didn’t seem worried at all about the future. In the following weeks, piles of useless or no longer used stuff that we all have in our lives spilled out across the curb. In his case, this was composed of several walkers, a portable toilet seat, a warped bedside table, and some curtain rods.
And then, two weeks ago, he and the For Sale sign disappeared. A few days later the new owners began to pull out what the man and his family had left behind, starting with these kitchen chairs, the table, and pendant lamp.
I looked the house up on on Zillow to see if there were any photos of what the kitchen looked like. It appeared ransacked as if it had been abandoned in a hurry. But even in its disheveled state it was apparent that the kitchen had been very functional and cozy, light-filled, and large enough for a family to hang out in. And pretty, the blue-colored cabinets back in fashion and the window over the sink highly sought-after.
The real estate agent crowed about what great potential the kitchen has. I admit I began to fantasize possible remodeling options. Yet, at the same time, I imagined the family wiggling in together around the table, gabbing with the cook, waiting for a good meal in what was surely one of the most favored parts of the house. And now it is being discarded.
It breaks your heart, doesn’t it?