It Was the Solstice

One of the neighbor kids found him on the way home from school, laying awkwardly on the deck with his face in the water. The coroner said he’d only been out there like that for a day. That would have made it a Sunday. It was the solstice; I don’t know why I remember that.

My uncle was dead, and if the boy next door hadn’t cut through the yard we might not have known it for weeks.

Uncle Dominic had been closing up his pool for the season when he had a heart attack, collapsed, and drowned in his back yard. I’d been there many times over the years. Grilled burgers and Kool-Aid. Chasing frogs in the crabgrass. But it had been a while. We’d fallen out of touch when Aunt Helen moved down to Augusta. She’d been the socialite. He was just along for the ride.

He’d never updated his will, so she ended up with everything—Helen that is. She promptly had the home’s contents emptied into a dumpster in the driveway, and then sold the house itself. Sometimes I drive by on the way home from work. The pool still gets used.

I wish she hadn’t tossed everything. She couldn’t understand that the value was all sentimental. Maybe if I’d driven by the place while he was still around I could have kept the grill.

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