Gentle Use

The small shed had a green roof and a creamy gray facade. The corrugated metal siding looked pretty good for being over twenty years old. There were a few dings from equipment banging the siding and the occassional strike from a thrown rock or the lumbering neighbor’s dog. Pine straw littered the edges of the roof and the ground around the shed. Ferns poked through the straw at the edge of the grass.

She opened the shed door–a prolonged scraping, metalic sound that ended in the sound of a dampened thud. Inside, the humid, musty air sat still around the rusting metal shelving that dressed the interior. In the corner, she found the brass ring that her boyfriend flung into the space when he was over, 12 or 13 years ago. Tarnished and adorned with spider webs, the ring was a reminder of something that happened, but would never occur again–at least not with him. They were messing around in the back yard, awkward and hopeful to finally kiss. She didn’t know why he tossed the ring like that. It was hers, but she didn’t think about it, because shortly thereafter they kissed. Now, he was gone, turning out not to be the dream he seemed at the time.

She came in for the gas can, but this oxidized band gave her a memory she could have forgotten or rememered only after running into him at a class reunion or at the store, when he returned to visit his parents. She didn’t have a boyfriend and didn’t want the boy from this memory, but for a second she recalled this once-thrilling moment.

Coming outside, the sun cast a warmth which seemed even greater.


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