It’s all mine now, she thinks, gazing out at the expanse of tall grass that undulates Thanksgiving colors in submission to the West Dennis wind. She is now the proud owner of seven acres of overgrown marshland; most of it useless to just about anyone who isn’t seeking a staggering case of Lyme disease. Like most of her life, the scene is deceptively lovely right now. Threadbare sheets and underclothes flutter playfully on the clothesline, flirting with cotton candy clouds that pass above them and she is both amazed and offended by the resilience of her little world. She and Hank gave it nothing to rejoice in, so it draws vitality from the sky.
She looks up, inhaling salt and wind, hoping there is something left for her, and it feels like the first breath in thirty-seven years. Her feet crunch along the crumble of rocks and shells that constitute their, no, her driveway as she walks around to the front of the house, shaking her head at the absurdity of self-inflicted vandalism. Ugly orange “No Trespassing” signs and barbed wire line the blackberries bushes that grow wild along her side of the dirt road to keep beachcombers from “stealing fruit”. Now only the birds can get to them.
She already knows that she’ll sell the land to Chuck Severs. He’ll buy it all just to get the buildable plots adjacent to his family resort. He’ll tear down the house - reduce it to sawdust without a moment’s consideration for the two hands that built it. She’ll get a small place in New Bedford near her sister and buy new underwear, the silky kind with lace trim. She’ll get the fancy ice cream with real vanilla beans.
No more Mrs. Hendrige. She’ll go by Caroline.