With folded hands she sat at the table, the one facing lush woods pressed against the landscape like it had been painted in place. Sleep had not touched her eyes for two days, since that man in the deputy’s uniform had knocked on her door, removed his hat, and said the terrible words that had never crossed her mind. It was his job and she wondered if he slept at night.

Butterflies flew against the window and some were smashed on impact to flee the sunlight, some did not and she wondered at the cessation of life and why such beautiful creatures of nature would do such an unremarkable thing to cease life. Life was so precious. She’s sat in the cane-back chair for a long while now and didn’t know what to do next. A lady at the church called and told her to pray and everything would be all right–in time.

She pushed her graying hair back into a bun and tied it close to the back of her neck with a rubber band, twisted like. She felt old; she was old. Her hands were wrinkled with brown spots, from working in the garden, and veins scattered the tops and sides of the skin. She turned over her hands and stared at them as if seeing them for the first time.

“Liddy,” a male voice called from the porch affronting the lake. “Are you in there? It’s nigh to sunset and you need to go lie down before too long, you’ll need rest.”

She turned and rushed to the door and unlatched the key, then stopped. Her feet were weighted to the floor. The door finally swung open. “Is that you? Don’t stay in the shadows, let me see you.” she said.

Weathered boards of the screened-in porch creaked under weight and her eyes searched for an image, any image that would tell her she wasn’t mad. No one was there and she was alone with the whippoorwills that usually came to sing to her before dark. Never, in her recollections had she known them to sing in daylight, always twilight. She shook her head this way and that searching for anything that would tell her the voice was not imagined. Her voice was low pitched. “I hear cemetery birds not whippoorwills; they heed not the time of day.”

After silence, her head nodded and she went to the screen door and looked scanned the lake and back to the porch. Slow steps dragged her feet toward the bedroom, she kicked off her house slippers and lay on the simple, double bed in her small, plain room void of pictures. An old black telephone startled her and she reached to the night stand and unplugged it.
Staring at the ceiling, she caught the scent of Old Spice Cologne and relaxed as she saw the other bed pillow opposite hers. It had the indented space like it held the weight of a person’s head. Her face was flushed, as she hugged the edges of the pillowcase. Her fingernails pinched the edges of the worn cotton. Hair askew, she breathed in life and closed her eyes. “You’re right, I’ll need rest,” she whispered. “The officer was wrong. You never went anywhere. He must have you mistaken for someone else. I am so relieved.” She heaved a sigh. “If it’s all the same to you, I’ll not dress for bed, I’ll lie right here with you and later when you get hungry I can fix our evening meal.

 

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Posted: May 4, 2014 in Uncategorized

Dan as an adult