Six years ago, a younger me was trick-or-treating.
I passed the Pig House, the house right across the street and around the corner, the cream-colored one that looks like a farmhouse, the one with all the pigs.
Peeking out from behind the fence, wading around in the front garden full of blank rocks, tumbling in the weeds, there were pigs.
There were faded ceramic pigs and grey stone pigs, rusty iron pigs and peeling wooden pigs, everything from pig flowerpots to pig wind chimes.
I counted the pigs, and there were fifty-three of them.
In that house was the Pig Lady, the sweet, beloved Pig Lady, who gave out juice pouches on Halloween and put Santa hats on her pigs on Christmas.
Every little kid in the neighborhood adored her for her house decorations and her sweet nature.
Four years ago, a younger me was heading to the park.
I passed the Pig House, the house that look a little smaller than I remembered, the one I was a little less fond of, the one with all the pigs.
Scattered around the fence, camouflaging with the front garden full of blank rocks, lurking in the weeds, there were spent cigarettes.
There were older cigarettes and cigarettes that seemed they had been dropped there just yesterday, straight cigarettes and crumpled cigarettes.
I tried to count the cigarettes, but there were too many.
In that house was the Pig Lady, the sweet, beloved Pig Lady, who stepped out onto who porch to enjoy a cigarette and dropped it into the plants below her when she was finished.
Every parent in the neighborhood avoided her for her bad habits and her bad examples she set for the little ones.
Two years ago, a younger me was walking my dog.
I passed the Pig House, the house that seemed to have lost its color, the one that was littered with cigarette butts, the one with all the pigs.
Intertwining with the fence, mingling with the front garden full of blank rocks, entangling the weeds, there was sadness.
There was empty sadness and bittersweet sadness, wistful sadness and just plain sadness.
I tried to see the sadness, but it was too distant.
In that house was the Pig Lady, the sweet beloved Pig Lady, with the clear tubes breathing air into her nose and the suitcase of oxygen she pulled around with her.
Everyone in the neighborhood ignored her, because she was old and because she was quiet.
Last October, I was trick-or-treating once again, this time with my best friend.
I passed the Pig House, the house that was playing rock songs from the 1970s and ’80s, the one that smelled like booze, the one with all the pigs.
Sitting on the couch, eating chips, downing beer, there were pigs.
There were pig ladies with sandals and shouts and pig men with greasy hair and stained tank tops.
I counted the pigs, and there were seven of them.
Somewhere up there was the Pig Lady, the sweet beloved Pig Lady, the one who I admired and I will never forget.
Everyone I knew could remember her, but I guess nobody knew she died that didn’t know her personally.
Last week, I passed the Pig House, and I heard from inside of it a baby crying. It was an unmistakable sound, like the hope at the bottom of Pandora’s box.
Perhaps there’s still hope for the Pig House yet.