I parked the truck behind the house when we came. It’s covered in branches now, leaves littered over the seats and the bed. I dragged the branches up from the creek bottoms that first night, to hide the truck and to make it seem as though it belongs here. But the leaves fell on their own. We’ve been here a long time, longer than we’ve stayed anywhere else.
The house is falling apart. I can’t see it through the woods until I reach the curve in the drive, even though the trees are bare now, their leaves piled along the narrow, lonely road. The paint is peeling on the broken fence, and the shutters hang at an angle. It’s nearly three miles to town, two to the nearest neighbor, but I don’t mind the walk.
I leave the truck where it is, with leaves piled in front of the license plates. He reported it stolen when we left him. They’re still looking for it. And for me.
I see a face in the window when I push the rusty gate open, balancing the paper bag of groceries against the post. My lips tighten. They aren’t supposed to be near the windows while I’m away. Someone might see them. This house is supposed to be empty.
It is empty, really, or most of the way. We’re practically ghosts anyway, after the last few years. It will take a long time before that heals.