A woman with long brown hair stands behind a door with a torn screen. She’s late thirties. Her yellow silk blouse billows to Woodstock jeans. A beagle sleeps on the landing below her three-step stairway. Her home is a nailed rectangle made from the bodies of trees. Weeds sprout from cement. Pots of lavender flank a walkway from the street down to the landing. A black Jag rests in the driveway, its driver’s side marred with dings, scratches, and dents. The US flag cracks in a sudden gust, flapping on a steel pole clamped to an eave. The beagle looks up.
A breeze moves the screen back and forth. The home is breathing. The white frame of the door flashes wood where the stain wore off. The woman sees me in my parked car across Ocean Boulevard. She’s suspended between curiosity and fear, perhaps considering me a voyeur on wheels. Her eyes say important things are missing from her life.
A voice echoes from another room. She turns, places hands on hips. A salt-and-pepper man passes through her windows and disappears. The woman swings open the door and calls in her dog. She looks at something in the back room. The beagle barks. The woman leaves her post at the screen. I am alone on a busy street.
The home continues to breathe.