She was a drifter, no place she called her own. No name on a mail box, nowhere to rest her head. The streets, the cities, the land was her home. She had a home at one time, when she was born into a family that lived in the wild country. No man’s land, that led to no direction, but yet, if you watched very closely, you would come upon a general store, which held most basic necessities.
Lily didn’t remember much of her youth, and what stood out were memories of working the land, reading the bible, and attending church on Sundays. Her family’s small shack, they called home was lost in a fire when Lily was around seven years old.
From there Lily was taken in by different neighbors, being used for help working the land, and eventually ended up in a home being the house girl, helping the two old folks to run their home and feed the livestock. When they passed on, Lily, boarded up all the windows, covered the furniture with sheets, and packed all of her belongings and along with some food she set her feet on virgin grounds and began her travels.
She had no plans, no drawn out maps as to where she was going. She was headed in the direction that God called her. She had taken one of the horses from her last home, and visited small towns along the way. Sometimes she felt so welcomed, that she would spend weeks in one spot, but soon she would grow restless and move on, always leaving her mark behind.
In one town she visited, she noticed a need for a school for the town kids. She set up meetings for the men folks and organized teams according to what needs and experiences there were. She talked to the lumber yard, and traded her experience in housekeeping for lumber to build the school. When she left this town, in the middle for all to see that passed through, was a brand new barn red, colored school, with one teacher and ten children in attendance.
When she was in between travels, she lived off the land. She set up camp, building a camp fire from broken trees and branches. She formed a tent by using her one extra blanket and lying it over a frame she had built to shield her from the hot suns or the rains. She fished for her meat, and ate berries from trees. Her fingers were her utensils, and the creeks were her bathing arena.
Her one town that she had entered, found her sitting in the local tavern, drinking her brew. She was alone with her thoughts, when a tap on her shoulder forced her to the awareness she was no longer alone. She turned around to look at the most beautiful eyes and smile she had ever laid eyes on.
Lily didn’t have much experience in the relationships between a man and a woman. She had heard whistles being sent her way, or once, a remark being made about her being a pretty filly, but this was as far as it had gone. Now she was looking straight into his eyes, waiting for him to speak.
He, Ben, had told her he thought he had known her, but when he saw her face, he realized he had been wrong. Without an invitation, he set himself down on the stool next to her. He didn’t wait to see if she minded, he started asking her what her name was, and how long she had been coming here.
Lily looked at him and asked him why was he wanting to know? Had she broken some law and was wanted for something? Ben poured out a large sound, that quickly turned into a roaring laugh. No, he was just making small talk, realizing that he had mistaken her for someone else. She released a little and told him her name, and talked about how she didn’t really have a home, that she was a drifter. He raised an eyebrow, looking her up and down, thinking to himself, how beautiful she was. Her long silky hair, tied back into a pigtail, her deep sea-green eyes, and the touch of pink on her cheeks.
In as quickly as he had appeared, he also left. She was left behind to ponder on his eyes and pearly white teeth. She looked out the windows and saw the sun was starting to set, and she would need to find herself a place to bed down for the night. She got up from her stool and was getting ready to exit the door, when she noticed a banner on the wall. She walked over to it, and noticed they were looking for a hotel maid. She tore down the flyer and went on her way, riding on the outskirts of town, and finding a spot to rest for the night, closed her eyes thinking of the big, brown eyes she had seen earlier.
The next morning found sunshine and a little cooler weather. She made her way to the creek, and tore off her clothes and walked into the calm waters to clean the dust off of her. The water felt warm, and she laid on her back, floating, her hair following her every move. After she knew that every hidden area she had was now cleaned, she walked out of the water, and put on her clean outfit, and headed to town. She wanted a real meal this morning, she was tired of eating meat and berries.
She walked back into the same tavern as she had been in the night before, and sat down at the same stool. She didn’t have much money, but she found herself ordering two eggs and a slice of ham and a biscuit. She downed this with a steaming cup of mud coffee. She was figuring out how much her bill was going to be, when the stranger with the blazing eyes appeared once again, and offered to pay for her bill.
Inside she was thrilled, as she knew money was scarce, but on the outside, she asked him why he went and did something like that for, she was just a stranger passing through, did he treat all strangers in this way. She heard once again that familiar laughter, and ended up smiling back at him, and gave him a big thank-you.
She walked out leaving him to stand back and watch her hips move, and made her way over to the town hotel. She walked with her head held high up to the desk, and took the flyer she had kept with her out of her bosom, and laid it on the desk. Was this job still open, she asked the attendant. He nodded yes, and pointed to the big, brown wooden door to her left. He told her to go over there and knock.
Lily knocked, and listened for a reply, and in short form, a come in was heard. She took a hold of the big brass door knob and turned it gently, walking in and was directed to a red leather, overstuffed chair. How could he help her was his question.
She explained why she was here, and what she wanted. Lily told of her experiences, and assured him he would not be sorry by giving her a try. The boss gave her a quick look over and came over and shook her hand and told her she could start in the morning, and that her room was at the top of the stairs.
Her room? Yes, your room, if you are going to work here, you will live and eat here, so when we need you in a hurry, we don’t have to hunt you down. Lily nodded, said her thanks, and left the office.
She had three outfits that would be suitable for this kind of job. Nothing fancy, but clean with no holes. She needed new shoes though. After the manager showed her to her room, she unpacked her few things, clothes, underwear, a couple of pairs of socks, her bible hairbrush, mirror, and some bobby pins. She left her room then and went down the street with her horse, to the horse barn, and told the owner that she had just been given a job, and needed a place to house her horse. He told her the fees, and she agreed, and left her horse in his care.
Lily roamed the streets, taking in the different stores, and did see a general merchandise store and walked in. She gazed at everything and came across the shoes. She looked over the few pairs that were for sale, and found a suitable pair. She tried them on and they fit perfectly. She tucked them under her arm, while taking her coin purse out from her bosom, and started to count out her money, just enough, plus enough for one more meal for the day. She went to the front counter and laid her money and the shoes for him to see. She paid the price, and he wrapped them and tied them with a white string, and she turned around and walked out.
It was late afternoon, and she didn’t really know what to do with her left over time before supper, when the piercing brown-eyed man appeared. He had a picnic basket in one arm, and with his other arm, he lifted his hat from his head and bowed a good day to her. He asked her if she had eaten yet, and she shook her head no. He told her he was headed down to the creek to have some lunch. He explained that he had his fishing gear and blanket there and would she accompany him. She felt her body temperature rising, and a funny stirring she had never experienced in her stomach, and placed her arm within his, and they walked to the creek.
Once there, they ate the cold, fried chicken, and beans, and there were biscuits and jam. To wash it all down was steaming hot coffee that was kept in a hot bottle. They both shared with each other about their lives, and as each talked, the other took in the beauty of the other. There was a light breeze, causing her hair to gently lift around her neck, and Ben found he could not keep his hand from lifting to touch her hair and to caress her neck. Lily felt him pull her closer, and her body moved without prompting. The picnic basket was moved, leaving their bodies to fill up the blanket. He laid her down, and she allowed him to kiss her lips, and nibble her neck. Stirrings were coming from within her, nothing she had ever felt before. She took his hand and moved it down to her breasts, where he delighted in the touch, smell, and taste of them. His hands made their way over her body, like they had been there before. Neither one could hold back anymore feelings, and they became one, under the blue skies. They both laid there for moments afterwards, wrapping their fingers in between each others, and looking into each others eyes, Lily, realized she was no longer a drifter, that she now had a place called home.