I’m pretty confident there was a homeless man living in our backyard this summer. I found a man’s winter coat tossed haphazardly in the weed forest a few weeks ago, and that was my initial suspicion. The thought hasn’t let up. What else could it possibly be? No one wears a winter coat in the middle of summer except homeless people — or someone with a serious case of the flu. Maybe.
Brian, who’s been home most of the summer while I galavanted across the country, suggested that it was one of the neighbor’s coats, so I marched next door, knocked on the door, and when he answered asked if the coat belonged to him. It didn’t. He also looked at me like I was insane (probably because of the crazy eyes). Well, there goes the most plausible explanation. It was time for my imagination to run wild.
I walked back to the house where Brian was busy painting the deck and didn’t have an opinion…or even care that this giant coat was found in our backyard. It couldn’t possibly have been blown through the neighborhood because it was one of those super heavy work jackets, and there hasn’t been any gale-force wind up in the Chicago suburbs lately.
Which left a couple of options.
1. It belonged to a homeless man sleeping in my backyard.
2. It’s discarded evidence from a crime.
I graciously placed the coat on my fence because a. I was not bringing that thing inside — it could have bugs. Or germs. Or be evidence for a murder or something and b. I thought if the homeless man came back, he would realize that I had left his coat in a place he could access without coming into my backyard, and perhaps he’d realize that I was on to him. And would possibly sick Louis the squirrel on him. Or maybe the cops.
Brian apparently spoke with the other neighbor on the other side of our house, and they both think that it was left by a ComEd dude. But I just want to point out that IT IS SUMMER. No one wears a heavy coat in the summer.
Nearly a month later and the coat and I are at a standstill. I refuse to move it from the fence and it refuses to disappear. I realize that I could also throw it away, but it’s a pretty decent coat.
But I’m also left wondering, what happened to the homeless man who was living in my backyard? Maybe he moved to someone else’s backyard across town. Though heaven only knows why. I still have tomatoes and peppers galore in my garden if he were to get hungry. And my backyard is welcoming and cozy as fuck. It’s all Illinois Prairie gardeny and shit.
What would you do? How do you think it got in my backyard?