Chapter 22, The Meadow
I have no idea what time it is, the sky darkish.
I am walking slowly, but with urgency; my stride a mind of its own. I am feeling guilty about having left Ivy, Ava, and Todd without word. I realize I do not have my cell phone. I pray that they do not worry. It occurs to me that I should also ask for guidance. And I do. The emotion in me swells, words escape me. In this moment, I feel but cannot think. I pray with my heart, trusting God to know what I am saying and choosing to believe that He will lead me where I am to go.
I brought the locket and letters with me, having placed them in my over-the-shoulder tote. The key must lead to something of worth. Why else would my grandmother show me where it was? I have given up trying to figure out exactly what that exchange was between us. A gift from God, enough said.
The last time I visited her she didn’t recognize me. I tried not to take it personally, remembering it’s the dementia. The disease has crippled her for years...though right now I wish we could talk about all that has emerged during this vacation. Maybe talking about it will spark a memory for her and she will be able to fill in any remaining gaps. I wonder if she was aware of the letters from my father to my mother…
And thinking of the letters, how could I not want to get to know my father better?
Images flicker in my mind’s eye, hazy about the periphery. Glamour shot comes to mind, the picture soft, bright; Reality sharp, cold.
Reality: the air is crisp, leaves crunch beneath my steps. The canopy of swishing green is so dense, I am unable to discern if there is a moon tonight. Somehow, I know the path. I am hoping I am following the correct trail back to the cabin. I begin to shiver, nervous about where I am. I have no idea how far I’ve walked, or how long I haven’t been aware of my movements. I can no longer make out the footpath I had been following. I don’t feel like I have been here before and yet something feels right about this place. All of my senses are heightened, noticing every sound. The crunch of my feet, the swooshing as the wind ruffles the leaves, the howl in the background.
The response to the howl was closer.
Is it late enough for coyotes to be out?
My heart picked up tempo, my blood loud in my ears. The wind continues to whip my face, my cheeks and nose raw. I have tucked my hands under my arms, wishing for a sweater. Why had I not been thinking? Oh, that’s right, I don’t remember.
Glamour Shot: I am about four. I see the back of my head, covered in glowing blondish hair. I am holding the hand of a man wearing a brown shirt, but that’s all I see of him. I am skipping in the tall grass, reaching beyond my head. Yellow butterflies frolic among the flowers, as if dancing to their own song: A melody of nature the only music.
I am giggling, immersed in joy. I catch sight of the blue ruffled apron sleeves, covering a pink top. Light permeates the vision. We walk through an opening in the trees, greeted by sunshine. The man in the brown shirt picks me up, placing me on his shoulders. I can see…Purple lilies, white pansies, yellow tulips…crisp air, glistening sun, birds in song…laughter, skipping, holding hands…
A beautiful meadow, stippled with colorful flowers, waving in the wind as if in greeting.
Meadow: as in my dream with Todd.
I actually jerked out of that vision. I found myself standing at the edge of the woods, looking into a meadow. The sun is so bright I raised my arm above my eyes, blocking the sun – so much for looking for the moon. It hung in the western sky in that place that seemed a cruel joke: directly eye level, hovering at the tree tops. I guess the time to be around six, wondering at my increasing inability to keep time. It amazes me how one can get so lost within their mind that times ceases to exist. I squint in an effort to make out what is beyond the meadow, choosing to ignore the blanket of color swaying and shimmering with the wind. Now is no time to think of Todd…
But I do miss him. In fact, I wish he were here with me right now.
And yet, I know that he is not meant to be here, that I am to do this part on my own.
There is a cabin on the opposite side of the meadow, slightly off to the right, hiding in the shadows of the tree line behind it. Even at a distance it looks forlorn. I feel something within break. A longing awakened within my heart, so deep was the pain. My knees weakened under the weight of it. A soft breeze lifts my hair and caresses my cheek, revealing a tear near my chin I hadn’t noticed escaped.
“Come to me…and I will give you rest,” a whisper to my soul. These words resonated true and familiar, a love poem to my heart. I know this to be from God. My soul jumped in anticipation forcing my breath to catch. Once again, without thought of my own, my feet moved, propelled by a being greater than me.
Laughter filled my ears, warmth spread through my center. We were home!
The door to the cabin opened, a woman with red hair waiting on the other side of the threshold. Her stance was tense, complete with a scowl on her face, clearly evident behind purple glasses.
“You’re late.” Her words were ice. I became scared, moving behind the leg of the man in the brown shirt. I buried my face in his pant leg, daring to peak one eye out to see this strange woman.
I tug on his hand, he lowers his head. I whisper, “Who is that, Daddy? Why is she in our house?”
A reaffirming squeeze of the hand and a wink later, he rose to his full height and met the red haired woman’s gaze.
“You have forgotten who you are right now,” Calm was his answer.
“What?” She asked incredulously as her hand brushed the red at her shoulder.
In a moment the expressions to cross the woman’s face were abundant, though fleeting; Horrified, the last emotion. Then, as if she remembered herself, she shut the door.
I was before the cabin door shrouded in shadows. I reached for the knob, fingers teasing. Electricity hummed beneath my touch, a secret to be revealed. The door creaked when opened. Upon stepping into the room, I shivered. The cold an affront to my body, though I presume it’s the eerie feel to the room that is creeping into my skin. Considering I was cold prior to entering this cabin, ‘eerie’ had to be what brought about this chill.
The cabin is one room, dark and dingy. I take a deep breath, only to choke on dust.
I have no idea where to start.
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