I wanted vines to grow over the spotted railing. My mom and aunt clipped the weeds and painted it instead.
That's what we do. What we've done for a hundred years.
We paint over the ugly flecks of brown and orange, eating away at what was once secure.
We paint over it, ignoring the shifting texture of shuddering metal.
We paint it white, a color unsullied but easily filled by filth.
We paint, again and again. Masking the slow destruction.
One day, it will fall, heavy with layers and withered by time. And I will whisper gratitudes as it crashes dully into the overgrowth.
My boots will stomp heavy, avoiding the pits left by the crabapple tree, crushing dandelions beneath my heels.
I will walk, down the hill, down the street, to the crossroads, to new homes on new streets. My eyes will linger lustfully over renovated houses and fresh, modern fixtures. Envy will turn to pride. Shame is transmuted between sighs of relief.
One day, I will look off into the distance, over the hill, past the church. The collapsed railing will be long out of sight but the wind will roll in softly, crooning tales of nature and her tenacity. Her songs will tussle my hair and set it down gently upon my neck, a story of lightning storms and hallowed ground.
An angel weeps quietly upon my shoulder.
I find her despair misguided.