Following The Bumpy Road
She was walking down the road. Gravel biting at her face as the winds picked up. 15-year-old Dawn
She was walking down the road. Gravel biting at her face as the winds picked up. 15-year-old Dawn had a messy life at home. Her mom was rarely home. She spent most of her time with the opening and closing hours at the local bar. Her dad always looked at her in a way that gave Dawn the creeps. An older brother who had run a way a few years back she never heard from.
For the most part Dawn had raised herself for the last several years. She got up for school with her alarm. She fixed a bowl of cereal and packed her own lunches. Dawn liked school. Not for the fact that she was shaping her life for adulthood; but because she heard noise. Kids running to and from classes. Teachers mumbling out of books.
She had a couple of friends but nothing really she could call close. It was fall and decorations were seen everywhere. Hanging ghosts from trees. Pumpkins sitting on porches. Orange lights hanging from windows giving off a spooky glow.
She was almost to school one day when a girl about her age hopped off her front porch and slid up beside Dawn, feet in rhythm, she walked beside her.
” What’s your name? Mine is Molly. We just moved here. This is my first day of school. You know I just hate school. My parents ride my ass all the time about how I need an education.”
Molly pulled out a pack of cigarettes from her back pocket. Lighting one up and making an O ring she offered one to Dawn who turned her down.
” So what did you say your name was?”
” I didn’t but it is Dawn.”
” Dawn huh, nice name I guess. Dawn and Molly, sounds good together.”
The two girls walked until they came within a block of school. She didn’t know what planet this chick was from but hey, someone was talking to her. Dawn stopped behind the school trash dumpsters. Molly stopped too and Dawn whispered, ” I think I will take one of the cigarettes if you still want to offer one.”
” Sure girlfriend, what are best friends for?”
Molly lit it for her and Dawn swallowed hard in order not to show this new friend she had never tried smoking before. Molly slapped her on the back and laughed. ” Don’t worry kid, it gets easier with each one.”
The two stood there while Dawn forced each puff. squashing it out with her feet the two went inside the school doors.
After school was over Molly was waiting right in the same spot the two had split. Going behind the trash cans Molly offered another cigarette which Dawn took. The two girls inhaled and chatted about the day. The girls walked home. Molly did most of the talking and Dawn listened.
It was obvious Molly had lived a more exciting life than Dawn had. They parted ways and once home Dawn went to the fridge and got herself a pop and some crackers. She went to her room and closed the door. Laying on her bed she ate and thought about everything Molly had said.
She wished she lived this kind of life. Molly smoked and had even tried pot. She even had sex already. Dawn had not even had a serious boyfriend yet. She fell asleep dreaming of how her life could change now that she knew Molly.
Day after day the two girls met. They went to school and went home. They started spending weekends together, and Molly even taught Dawn how to skip school. After all, there was so much more to life than just school, Molly would say.
Molly made friends easily. She introduced them to Dawn and soon she was popular. This crowd she was running with wasn’t the kind your mother dreamed of you being around. More drugs were introduced. Drinking on the weekends became a regular thing.
It wasn’t long at all before skipping school became a once a week thing. Then it was two, then three, graduating up to a week one time. The school was calling but no one was answering.
One time when Dawn was smoking a joint in her room the doorbell rang. She peeked out her window. It was a cop. Dawn’s heart began to race. What should she do? She quickly called her friend and was instructed to get a small bag together quick. Quietly slide out the back door and high tail it over to her house.
It took less than five minutes and the house was empty. When Dawn walked upon the porch Molly was standing there waiting for her with her own back pack. The two said nothing. They started walking not looking back.
Dawn’s mind was asking so many questions. There was a little fear making her stomach hurt. But she wasn’t going to get the shit kicked out of her for not going to school. She had no choice but to follow or go back.
The two had made it to the edge of town when a car pulled up next to them. Gravel biting them in the face as the winds picked up. Three guys were inside. Smiling they told the girls to hop in. Molly did just this and Dawn followed.
Two white washed, wooden rockers sat on the porch. A small plastic table sat between them. A potted plant, resting on the table. As you walked across the wrap a round porch, the loose boards would creak from the many steps that had been taken through the years. When you walked to the other side you could see a muddy pair of mens boots, that used to be black in color, and a pair of worn gloves with the index finger missing. Beside these were a smaller pair of rubber boots, gray from mud, and water streaked from where they had been rinsed off with a hose. A pair of green printed gloves lay atop of the boots, and there was a garden hoe, standing to the side. As you looked out over the porch, you could see the trees reaching up to heaven. If you looked a little further, they blended as one. Rows of corn could be seen for what seemed to be miles. The corn was up about six inches. Off in the distance, there were deer running about. Families were together, running to and fro through the woods. When you shifted yourself to the side, the old family barn with chipped paint stood standing. Representing generations of the family name. Chirping birds could be seen and heard fluttering in and out of the guttering, where they had built their tiny nests. Many good times could be brought to the fore front of the mind, with no hesitation of days gone by, swinging on the rope swings and falling into hay mounds. Stepping away from the house, making your way down the gravel path, you could see where families had come together to work the ground, sow the seed, and harvest the finished product. To the side of the barn the black kettle leaned against the barn, waiting to be used once again for home-made vegetable soup to be made over the open fire, in the fall. A picnic table sat close by, waiting to be adorned with lots of laughter and food. A pile of wood lay next to the barn. Many a hot dog and marshmallow were cooked over the open fires. About twenty feet from this rested a copper kettle, that after most of a day, the best tasting apple butter could be eaten. Looking straight out from this spot you could see the lone acorn tree, standing tall and erect, with memories of Susie and Missy, the family dogs, now resting in comfort, keeping the tree company. When you continued to walk a little further down the gravel path, the smell of lilac bushes would enter your nose. There was a large garden of all types of colorful flowers blooming. On one side of the garden was a pear tree. Memories came flooding back from the many times pears had been picked, and washed off by the arm, and with the heat of the sun, were warm and delicious.. At one time, years ago, this garden replaced a large dip in the earth. This dip held many rains in the spring and the fall. With the fall rains, brought cold temperatures, and magically produced a wonderful ice skating rink. Much laughter was heard, as beginners and experienced skaters would slip on their Christmas skates and go skating on the pond. Twirling and speeding and sometimes falling and tears could be seen. As you walked on through the gravel path, coming back around to where you started you could view many lilies, planted with love by the woman of the house. Each flower represented a child that had been born in this family along with the parents and grandparents. They were a breath-taking sight. Delicate, and yet strong enough to hold each white petal. Everything looked the same, and yet all had changed. The familiar cars that always took over the garage, were no longer there. Now replaced with newer models of a younger age group. The garden area was now covered with weeds, and there were no beautiful vegetable plants pushing up to God. The black kettle and the copper kettle were no longer seen. The name on the mailbox was foreign. A part of the land had been turned from corn, and was replaced with a bare earthen path, that made a circle, which now held four wheelers and bikes. When you glanced at the house, it looked the same, but peeking through the windows, the old, familiar window coverings had been changed to more modern, colorful, country plaids. Standing there alone, in a familiar setting, taking in the flooding of memories, brought mixed emotions of smiles and tears. Shielding the sun with my hand, looking in all directions, were wonderful memories, that would always be cherished. This is where I was raised. This was where I was taught about God, and learned about how God’s earth feeds the body. I kissed my first date out on the porch. My first car was parked in the drive. I brought my first child here to be held and loved. I mourned the loss of loved ones here. This is where I came when life was out of control, being able to talk to parents, who would help set me on the right path again. This was my home. My home that now belongs to a brand new family. I got in my car, and started the engine, refusing to move, taking in every view and smell, boring them farther into my memories. Time does not stand still. We are forced to accept change. I drive out of the drive way, not looking back, never wanting to touch this ground again. I would leave with my thoughts, savoring each precious memory, realizing this was no longer my home.