It was a square box of a house on a corner lot surrounded on every side by gardens. To the left of the asphalt drive where my parents parked their cars was a small garden with an ornamental cherry tree planted in the center. This garden was surrounded on two sides by a low brick wall and the back of it by a wooden fence done with thin planks that were woven in. Someone had planted lots of shrubs on the borders of this garden, but there was nothing to do there: No where to sit, nothing to hold a lively child in place. Opening the gates led you to the back door or kitchen door. There was a thin slab of concrete running against the house on which the rubbish bins were place. This garden was much larger. On the other side of the fence was my sister’s fishpond that she restocked with frogspawn every March so that she could watch the frogs hatch. There was a large pear tree that ripened with sweet-tasting pears every September. There was a thick beech hedge with honeysuckle strands that lay over it, twisting in the breeze and exuding a very sweet scent. This was the garden where we used to like to sit outside in fine weather and have afternoon tea from a trolley that we kept in the garage. Walking around the house in a clockwise direction brought you to the back garden where there was a large cherry tree with sweet fruit and then around to the other side of the house, where the sun was. This was an L-shaped garden, which ran around to the front of the house. It is the place where my sister and I scuffed the low brick wall as we climbed over it on our way home from school. This is where my mother planted her roses and where our wedding pictures were taken.
Now the house has doubled in size. The ornamental cherry tree is gone. So is the pear tree, and the side garden by the kitchen door where my sister had her fishpond and we had tea outside in fine weather. The extension has taken over all that space. The side garden looks much as it did before, but neglected. The grass is brown, the plants shrunken and a soccer ball lies immobile, waiting to be kicked.
–Cynthia Haggard writes short stories, novels and poetry. During the day, she is a medical writer and has recently opened her own business. For more on her creative writing, go to spunstories. For more about her medical writing services, go to clarifyingconcepts. (c) 2008. All rights reserved.