His House

     Large black letters spray painted onto the garage door read “KEEP OUT”.  The grass is neatly trimmed, the landscaping barren. The house number is painted over to render it illegible.  I park on the street out of habitual reverence, although I suspect the garage is and will remain empty.  I secretly pray that the house is as abandoned as it appears.

    A large dog barks as I approach the porch.  I brace myself before I hear “Rover, Shaddap,” and the door opens.  A tall, lank man with a week’s worth of stubble appears holding a large black dog by the collar.  He has me wait in the living room while he crates the dog.  The room is large and sparsely furnished with a china cabinet and a small writing desk.  The man returns and conversation begins.  After a minute, he pulls out a wheelchair for me to sit in.  As an afterthought, he lifts the footrests so my feet can rest on the floor.  I wonder where this wheelchair came from, if the man himself needs it at times.  I think back to a former client, frail and wheelchair bound.  I hardly recognized him after he was released; when properly medicated he was robust and healthy.  That man had been declared “not guilty” by the court.  I wish my job here were as straightforward.

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