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I still am a late middle aged former government worker marking time until the cliff.
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Friday, June 9, 2017
Road Trip (Blogophilia 15.10)
“Mommy. Are we there, yet?” The voice had just a bit of a whine to it.
“Not yet. We still have a little bit to go.”
Kathy reached into the bag at her feet. Out came a bottle of water. She offered it to Emily.
Brushing a fly off the pale arm, the little girl replied, “No, thanks.”
Kathy opened it up and took a swallow, then offered it to Jimmy behind the wheel, who finished it in one long glug.
Emily looked out the window. These country roads were boring. Miles and miles of grass fields with cows here and there. Some of them had ponies, but even then they just stood and ate. They probably pooped, too. But the car was moving too fast to see that. It also meant they couldn’t smell it, either. Good. She remembered the school field trip to the zoo. It stunk bad. Cows and ponies probably smell bad, too.
Around a curve, an abandoned log cabin stood next to the road. The windows were all broken and the door was missing, which made it look like had a face. It looked so cool. It felt like it was talking to her.
“Ooh, look at that old house, Daddy. Can we stop and see it?”
Jimmy was irritated. “No, Honey.” He said. “Aunt Pam is fixing dinner and we don’t want to be late.”
“Oh, O.K.” She knew not to say anything else.
What was the house’s story, she wondered? Everything had one. You just had to look to see what it was. Was it like the Gingerbread House where the old witch was waiting for kids to turn into sweets? She liked sweets, but she didn’t want to be one. Or was it like Red Riding Hood’s Granma’s house, with a wolf to eat you up? That would hurt. She thought about asking again to go back, but that would only make Daddy mad.
On the seat next to hers was a lined tablet. There was a piece of sticky tape on the top of it and Mommy put a pencil there. Drawing was fun when there was nothing else to do. A sketch of a house with a hole in the roof soon appeared. She added a cow, a horse and a stick girl at the door. She couldn’t put in the red hair, though. The crayons were packed in trunk for when they got to Aunt Pam’s. Coloring would have to wait until they got there. The eyes became so heavy.
The pony’s fiery mane matched her own. The green t-shirt and polka dot short was replaced by a long white dress, like a princess would wear. Galloping across the golden meadow, the old cabin was perched on the ridge above her. It looked lonely and lost. With a light tug, the pony stopped at the steps of the porch. Standing still for a moment, a smile grew from ear to ear for she could hear the spirit breathing inside. With a turn, she dismounted and came up to the first stair.
“Mr. House, may I please come in?”
There was a faint rumble, wind in the broken glass.
“Who wishes to disturb my slumber?”
She stepped back, almost tripping over the hem of her skirt.
“My name is Emily. I saw you from across the field and wondered what your story was.”
A chuckle like sound came from the doorway.
“My story? Little girl, a few times I have been around that track. I have no story. A man built me some moons ago. It took him a season and a phase to finish. The spirits of six trees make my walls and floors. All of them cut from across the field from which you came. The Man took care to form me and make me tight against the rain. After he was finished, he brought a wife and they raised three red haired little girls.
This revelation delighted her.
The porch almost smiled.
“Yes, very much like you. It is serendipity you have arrived and blessed me with your company. They were such sweet things, playing games here on my porch, then following their Mommy down into the field to feed the cows. And, yes, they do poop. But I never thought it was that bad. It kept the grass fed.”
The little girl giggled.
“In time they each grew to be as beautiful as the wife. Younger men came and claimed them for their wives one by one, and I would weep at their leaving. I kept hope they would bring their own children to play on my porch. But, alas, they never did return. It wasn’t long after the youngest left the Man and Wife took ill and died. Do you know what died means, Little One?”
Emily became thoughtful and silent for a moment.
“Kind of like when Granny, my Daddy’s mommy, went away?”
“Yes, like that. I have been alone since. Some of the neighbors say the Man and Wife are still in here in spirit, as ghosts. How I wish. Even when they fussed, it was a lovely sound. It’s lonely here. A few people have come by. But only to be mean by scratching my walls and breaking my walls. You don’t look like that kind.”
“No. My Mommy and Daddy told me to be kind to everyone, even they aren’t kind to you. They said it was a seed that would grow as long as you tended it.”
“That is a good lesson. Remember it...”
“Sweetie, wake up. We’re here.” Daddy kissed her forehead. “Was it a nice nap?
Emily rubbed her eyes.
“Yes, Daddy. It was. The Old House did have a story. It was built long ago...”
“Hold on to that thought, Honey, and you can tell me after we eat. I can smell the barbecue from here.