For Robert Long Foreman
Please don’t cancel today’s yard sale because of the rain. Remember that you were up late clearing out the basement, boxes full of who-knew-what. Forget that most of this stuff won’t be any good when it’s wet, even less so when it’s gone moldy or turned into something else entirely. The signs are already out there, screaming YARD SALE at the ends of the road and at the corner down by the 7-Eleven—although I watched someone pluck that one from the ground and carry it away, into their car and down the road that does not lead to your yard, as advertised. Wouldn’t it be terrible to trudge through the rain and take it all back, drag those signs home, bleeding, in the drizzle?
Here’s what you should do, really: Understand that the rain might pass. Understand that, either way, some people still want to come by, that some people caught sight of your signs as early as Thursday, and they’re planning on being there, planning on buying those size 6 jeans you bought at someone else’s yard sale in 2009 and never fit into, and when you got home, realized they had a tiny brass switchblade lodged in their back pocket, blade out. Whoever buys them from you won’t fit into them either, but maybe. You should raise your big patio umbrellas up over the tables of the things that will bloat and inflate and melt when the rain hits them, press onto the stem of the sun-bleached umbrella you’d planned to sell already a round neon sticker labeled with the price—$15 before this idea came to you, $20 now that we’re all seeing what the thing can really do. Pray that no one buys it, dooms the inventory below it. Know that if you sit inside the heavy air that fills the garage, if you smile quietly to yourself, and think Come in, we will. When those two guys pull guns on each other and it’s not even about any of what’s for sale, stay calm enough. You’ll learn a lot later, after the cops are gone and you’ve learned to cast things off on Facebook instead, CONTACTLESS PPU – FCFS, that guns like these don’t have safeties, which is part of the problem, but not all of it, and the Internet swears they’re still relatively safe to carry. Speaking of which, Can a finger down the barrel stop a bullet?
Know that even if it does rain, I’ll come by, and I might buy that old toaster oven and run off to my crappy old car, swaddling the toaster inside my coat, holding it against my bare stomach, wishing it were warm, knowing that it might be soon. After all, you might be glad you didn’t cancel the yard sale because of the rain, and anyway, the rain may not even show. Look up. It’s pretty clear.
A. Kathryn Davis (one of many, yeah) graduated with a degree in writing from Grand Valley State University, where she worked as editor-in-chief of the university’s literary journal, fishladder. She writes and produces films for the time being from the southwest corner of Michigan.