A story i wrote for an assignment.
A Fictional short story by Walker Andreasen
As I see it this path has been here all my life. I can remember it dearly. Even though it is the first time I traveled down it.
As I walk in the tire ruts in this muddy path, I frown at the sight of my best shoes being ruined, but at the same time I’m delighted in the fact that the mud is swallowing my feet and ankles. I haven’t felt this young in years. Or maybe I just haven’t lived this young.
My mind wanders back to the time I was a child as I trod down the muddy road. I grew up in New York City all my life. I had never been out of it until I was 19 when I ran away from home with the love of my life. When I was a child I would always go to Central Park and pretend I was in a luscious forest and I was lost for hours. When I came across a man-made object my pretending would end as I would remember that I am not in fact, in a forest. I would walk along one of the paths with my hands in my pockets, my head bowed, and a look of disappointment in my face until something in the trees or bushes caught my eye then my imagination would creep back into play until I was lost again.
It’s hard to believe those days ever happened. It happened so long ago it seems more like a dream then a dear memory. I shifted my duffel bag from one hand to the other as my left hand and arm were hurting from the long time in which they had been carrying the duffel bag.
As I plow my way through the mud, I come to a bend in the path and a clearing is on my right and the golden wheat stalks that are surrounded by the gold-green trees of late summer and an old, rusted orange tractor that laid in the middle of it remind me of my wedding when I was married to my dear sweet Evelyn.
We were married 4 months after we ran away. Our parents were furious, but after awhile they settled down. We where happily married for 2 and a half years, but the accident ruined all of it. We were on a picnic in a field much like the one slowly passing on my right. We were talking and laughing while making some sandwiches. While we were talking, we both forgot that Evelyn had Hemophilia, and wasn’t supposed to use the knives. At one point in the conversation we got carried away and she blindly grabbed the tomato and started cutting it. Right after this we engaged in a deep eye lock and her cutting slowed. After a few short moments that felt like eternity, I leaned in and kissed her. When I kissed her, her cutting was at a top stroke, and after our lips made contact, it stopped there. Then a few seconds later, she smiled while our lips where entwined, and she pushed the knife down firmly as a final cut to the tomato, and she accidently cut her finger.
The wound was deep; it had almost taken her finger off. We were in the mountains and the drive to the hospital was three hours, and the drive to a decent signal to contact 911 to maybe get an ambulance to the mouth of the canyon to the mountain pass in which we were was a good 2 hours.
We left our picnic stuffs in the meadow and raced to the car. When we got on the dirt road I drove as fast as I felt safe, without going over the edge…
A call from off this path pulled my attention away from my thinking and I looked to my left and saw an old log cabin. An elderly man was sitting in his rocking chair on the cabin’s porch.
I stopped, and then said loudly enough so that he could hear me as the cabin was set back a good 60 yards from the path, “Pardon?”
“I said ‘where you headed stranger?’” he repeated.
“Where ever this road takes me,” I responded.
“Sounds good to me. Come up here so I can talk to you,”
I did so and when I got to his porch, I set my duffel bag down on the second step and put my right leg on the first step, adjusted my ball cap so the bill was higher up so the man had a clear view of my face, then folded my arms and set my elbows on my right knee.
“Been walkin’ long stranger?” he asked me.
“Ya thirsty, son?”
“Yes sir,” I said with a smile.
“Well come on in!” he said with a grunt as he hoisted himself out of his rocker.
“Thank you sir,” I said, then gathered my things and followed him inside.
The old man had a grizzly white beard and had quite the belly. He wore a white dress shirt, gray slacks, and dirty suspenders that looked like they had seen a lot of work.
The inside of his house was very cool compared to the 85 degree weather I was trekking in outside. It was a darker cabin, the only light coming in from the windows. I saw a few old oil lamps hanging in various places.
“Just leave your bag there by the door while I find my wife. She’s got to be around…” His voice drifted out of hearing as he went into another room. I set my bag down then was startled when I saw an old woman coming out of the kitchen. She was fairly skinny and had on bifocals. She was wearing a light pink dress with a lavender apron. Her left hand was stuffed inside a glass along with a towel.
“Bill? Did I hear...” she Stopped when she saw me standing in front of her door.
“Who are you?” she asked me.
“My name is Hugh. ‘Bill’ had me come off the path out there and invited me in for a drink, ma’am”
“Oh. Well welcome dear.” She said with a smile. “Please take your shoes off and leave them out on the porch so you won’t track the mud all over the house.
I looked down at my feet a saw nothing but deep brown mud. I blushed out of embarrassment and did as she wished. A few moments later Bill came out of the room saying: “…That darned woman. I can never find her in this house of her…oh,” he said out of surprise when he saw us standing there.
“There you are Ev.”
“No. There YOU are” she said. They smiled at each other then Ev invited me to sit on the couch.
“Thank you ma’am,” then I did so.
“Would you like a shave there, son?” bill asked me
“If you don’t mind” I said.
“Eh, the bathroom’s down the hall. Help yourself,”
“Thank you sir” I said.
“While you’re doing that, I’ll make us some iced tea,” Ev said, and then she disappeared back into the kitchen.
I went to my duffel bag and searched through it for my razor.
“There’s some shavin’ crème in the cupboard” Bill said. I nodded then headed to the bathroom.
Ten minutes later I was sitting with Bill and Ev on the porch drinking iced tea and telling them where I was headed and why.
“So what happened after you got out of the canyon?” Ev asked me.
“Well, I pulled out my phone and dialed ‘911’. Luckily the light was green so I kept going on. Evelyn was losing so much blood so fast… and then the truck hit us broadside. On Evelyn’s side.” I stopped to take a drink then continued. “His brakes where out and I didn’t hear him blowing his horn. I was too busy telling the 911 operator the information she was asking. When he hit us the phone flew out of my hands. When we finally stopped spinning, Evelyn’s head was on my lap. We had forgotten to put our seat belts on because we were in such a rush.
She looked up at me and smiled then said ‘I love you’ very faintly. I smiled with the tears welling up in my eyes. I told her I loved her to then I leaned down and kissed her gently. And that was it. She was gone.”
I took another sip of my tea then looked up. I knew Ev was crying gently because I saw the tears rolling down her face one by one. Bill was just frowning sympathetically.
“I’m so sorry Hugh,” said Ev.
I replied with a frown.
“You said her name was ‘Evelyn’?” Bill asked me.
“Yes, sir” I took another sip.
“That’s my lovely wife’s name” he said, then looked over at his wife. After a few seconds had past, Ev broke the eye contact with her husband and asked me where I was headed. I told her the same thing I told Bill not long ago when I first met him: “where ever the road takes me.” Then I added: “Just trying to start a new life ma’am.”
She smiled sympathetically, and then told me to call them when I got to where ever it was the road took me. She gave me their phone number on a piece of paper, and I put it in my duffel bag.
I put my mud-caked shoes on after I beat most of the dried mud off of them, then grabbed my bag.
“Thank you so much,” I said as I went down the porch
“Any time” Bill said with a smile. “She’s much nicer to me when we have company.”
Ev put a mad frown on her face then back-handed Bill’s chest then said “Oh hush, Bill. I’m nice to you all the time.” She then turned to me and smiled. “You come anytime you want dear” she said. I smiled once more, and with that, headed to the road.
On the road I continued my journey down this nameless path once more. My shoes seemed to be a mud-magnet, because within five steps, I could not see them anymore.
I came to another bend in the road and I stopped and looked at the scene in front of me. The old wood fences on either side of me that had once been five feet from the path, narrowed down to about two feet as they met three old trees whose leaves were golden-green as all trees are in late summer. The one on the right was forked and bent over the path as the one on the left was large and straight standing. There was a smaller one behind it that was also straight standing. Beyond this scene the path curved more with more gold-green trees to the far left of it, and there were no more fences. I smiled and slung my bag over my left shoulder. I couldn’t wait to see what lie ahead and once more my mind wandered off, taking me places that I had all but almost forgotten.