It was the year they left Mantua; the
year they left the bank where the teller sat in the drive-through
window framed by brick—a pretty picture of small-town life and
love—dispensing cellophane-wrapped lollipops and conversation with
every deposit and every withdrawal.
It was the year they moved to forty
acres of cornfields and woods; dreams and intentions. She remembers
waking to the silver tanker pulling into the dairy farm across the
street. She remembers standing at the window, staring at the
holsteins dotting the field, wrapping thick muscular tongues around
patches of grass.
She remembers the time the farmer drove
across the state highway dividing their property. She ventured
outside, picking up twigs from the driveway, feining disinterest. The
farmer wore dark blue pants and a button-up shirt. His skin was
tanned and leathery. Occasionally, he would remove his striped
conductor's cap to reveal the whispy hair beneath. For the duration
of the visit, he kept his foot on the truck's running board, as if,
at any moment, he would swing into the cab and drive home.
She circled closer.
She balanced on the bumper of the
farmer's truck, watching through the glass of the cab. Her father
nodded at the hospital band strangling the farmer's left wrist. “I'm
sorry,” he said. The words felt heavy and inevitable.
The farmer nodded and looked across the
street to his cows.
Eventually, he got into his truck and
started the engine. And as he put the truck in reverse and began
backing out of the driveway, she leapt from the bumper to safety.
It was the year they buried the farmer,
despite fervent prayers lifted to heaven.
It was the year she learned of the
fragility of life.
It was the year she learned that safety
can be an illusion.
But it was also the year that she
understood that love—for a town, for a bank teller, for a dairy
farmer across the street, for a broken-down farm and a barn in
disrepair—love always remains.
On to the weekly challenge, in honor of the time we have spent together so far.YEAR (noun)
1: the period of about 3651/4 solar days required for one revolution of the earth around the sun
2: a cycle in the Gregorian calendar of 365 or 366 days divided into 12 months beginning with January and ending with December
Labels: Creative non-fiction, Trifecta Writing Challenge