Across the Ocean

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30 Post Writing Challenge: a story that takes place pre-1950.

I had no interest in taking the long boat ride to Ireland to visit my husband’s family.  My mind drifted as my stomach churned with the mysterious sea.  Having lived in New York all of my life with my parents of Spanish descent, the thought of a cabin home with a bare outhouse was not anything I had heard of or cared to experience.  With no prohibition to worry about in Ireland, liquor was easier to come by but who would prefer sitting at a bar stool in a pub to dancing the night away with a live jazz band.  Of course I would do whatever my husband asked and here we were sitting in this thatched cottage in Londonderry.  The north of Ireland was picturesque but all I saw was this farm, day after day.  How long would I have to endure these boring days on this pasture?  The smells of the cattle were foreign to me although the scent of the peat that burned to keep us warm was pleasant.

I stood up to look out the window and see if my husband was returning from the morning milking with his father.  I looked outside and squinted my eyes because I was sure they were deceiving me but as a plane got closer to the field and then landed I was simply speechless.  I ran outside without putting on my hat, I had no time for that, I must rush out and see what on earth had just happened.  By the time I got outside the plane had rolled to a stop and was about a couple of hundred feet from me as I rushed toward it.  I suddenly wondered how strange I must look running in my polka dot dress with farm boots on but I also didn’t care because I was so curious.  By the time I got closer I was out of breath.  The neighboring farmer had made it up to the plane and I stood back catching my breath, straightening out my dress and I pushed it down with both hands, brushing off grass.

I looked up to see a slender, feminine figure emerging from the small door that opened on the side of the huge machine of a plane that I had never seen anything like other than in photos.  Her head was covered with a cap like something I had seen on swimmers except this one was made of leather and had a strap to buckle it around her neck.  Hers was not buckled though, the strap hung on one side and her face was pale and bushed.  Her movements were so firm and confident that I caught myself wondering if I was mistaken and this was a slender man but with her tiny waist and smart fashion I knew it wasn’t.  She pulled that cap off and I admired her brown wavy curls.  She exited the cockpit of the plane with a look of exhaustion and despair yet she was resilient and striking.  I was mesmerized by everything about this woman.  She was so different and beautiful with her original pants that were unlike anything I’d seen on a woman.  Then she said “I’ve come from America.”

“Have you now?” replied my father in law’s neighbor.  I also wondered if this could be true.  Then I realized that the remarkable woman before us was America’s most famous female pilot.  I had read one article about her when she was married to the handsome publisher but I had overheard plenty of conversations about her at the delicatessen and more at the beauty parlour.

As I kept my distance more people started rushing up to the plane.  All of the neighboring farmers had come and soon there was a photographer, and there were several reporters.  I watched this in awe and thought about how women were granted the right to vote some twelve years ago and now a woman landed a plane on this field after a nerve wracking trans-Atlantic flight.  What a wonder this world was, I marveled as I looked down at my sloppy Goodrich boots and the crochet hem on my dress that came from my Mom’s old bedspread.

Just then the household mutt Rosie rubbed her nose against the backside of my left ankle.  Apparently she had tired of all of the new people and smells, too.  I understood how she felt because it was quite enough excitement for me as well.  “C’mon Rosie,” I said as I turned to walk back towards the cottage.  Now the boring cottage and the smell of peat were now beckoning me back indoors.  As I passed the cattle I took a deep breath and noticed a sense of comfort from the familiar stench.  Rosie trotted happily at my side and the excitement of Amelia Earhart’s emergency landing on our farm was behind us now as we entered the cottage and the door slammed shut.

When My Heart Sang

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30 post writing challenge: fan fiction.

I reached the moment when I could no longer make toast for dinner, no more cheerios as a meal or peanut butter to fill me up.  I knew there were raisins and I could have endless hot tea but I was on empty and a run to the market was in order.  But the weather, why must it be so frigid and snowy on this night when I have no food reserves?  Like many have done during many storms past I put my snow boots on, grabbed my puff jacket off the hook and went out to warm up the car.  The burst of cold when I opened the door jolted me into action.  I turned on the car and turned the heat up, then went back in to make a hot tea in my to-go cup.  By the time I went back out to my car it was somewhat warm and off I went to the market.  I could do a market run in my sleep, up and down each isle picking up my standards in a hurry.  Up to the cashier, loading it on the checkout counter in rapid motions and then pushing my cart over the snow covered pavement.  I loaded the bags on one side of my cargo area and off I went on my drive back home.

About two miles from home on my ride back from the market I turned off the highway as I had done hundreds of times before but it didn’t turn out as it had all of those hundreds of times.  While I was still in the process of turning I locked eyes with a beautiful creature that was now directly in my path.  His face was round but a bit wider than long.  The hair around his face was full and thick.  I had seen raccoons that were beige and black but this one was absolutely brown and black, very brown.  He stopped right in the middle of the road and stared me down.  His eyes were like lasers and brown and seemed to lock in with mine.  I stared back during this frozen moment in time and my eyes pleaded with his.  “Please move out of the road raccoon, there is no way I can stop my car on this icy, downhill road and I do not want to hurt you.”

But the raccoon continued to stare me down.  I pressed down on my brake pedal.  Gravity jerked my car forward and I heard the plastic grocery bags in the cargo area roll on top of each other.  For a split second I wondered about the eggs I had carefully placed to one side but that thought was quickly overtaken with the reality of my car spinning around so that I was facing the top of the hill where I had come from.  I knew icy roads, I knew the rule about not stopping for small animals if it could cost you your safety, how could I be doing this?  That raccoon staring at me intensely, those large brown eyes, what was I thinking? But again my thoughts were interrupted by the terrorizing fear of the moment.  The spinning of my car was halted by my car crashing into the bar ditch on the side of the road.  It was filled with snow which padded the thump but that also meant my muffler was likely obstructed with snow and I had to get out where there was clean air.  My hands were sweaty.  I turned off my car and put my purse strap over my head and across my chest.  I had to get moving as the night would only be getting colder.  This was a resort town and plenty of travelers came through here but the few people who lived in my neighborhood would probably be the only drivers on this road and they were definitely not out and about in these conditions.

As I stepped out of my car my feet pressed through the snow bed and the snow was up to the middle of my shins.  If I moved quickly out of this snow bank I could shake that snow off before I became wet.  My boots were past my ankles and were made for these conditions.  I hurried to the road and stomped my feet on the ground several times until the excess snow shook off of my legs.  I started walking in the direction of my neighborhood.  There was a small bridge at the bottom of this road and after that I would have an uphill hike for about a mile and a half.  As I started down the road I was shocked by headlights.  An oncoming car was driving slowly because of the slippery road and the snow that had started to fall again.  I waived and the gentleman pulled right over.  He wasn’t anyone I had seen in town.  Was this the right thing to do?  I didn’t have a choice.  “My car slid off the road” I said in a slightly raised voice.  I couldn’t see the man’s face but he wasn’t a large person and for some naïve reason I didn’t feel threatened because of his gentle demeanor.  He motioned with his hand for me to come over and I walked across the snowy road and towards the passenger door.  Now that I was next to the car I noticed that it was a black SUV and it had been washed recently because it had no dirt splashed on it from previous snow storms that had melted during the sunny hours.  I opened the door and was greeted with enveloping warmth.  The heater was on and the seats were also heated.

I looked at the driver in the light that had turned on from the opened door and I found myself speechless.  All of his songs that I loved, they all flashed in my mind.  I must have had the oddest smile on my face when he said “You can’t walk in this weather.  Which way should I go to get you indoors?” It was that same soft voice I had heard many times and listened to over and over.  I answered him but I’m not sure exactly what I said.  He drove to the top of the hill where he could use part of the intersection to turn around.  I directed him to turn at the road that led to my home and then we were at my place.  It seemed strange with no car parked outside but I would deal with that tomorrow.  I wanted to compliment him on his talent and tell him how much I’ve enjoyed his music, his performances at award shows, reading his kind tweets.

Instead I looked straight ahead with in twitch in my left eyelid and I started singing, “But I just want you to know, I hope he buys you flowers, I hope he holds your hand,” and towards the end of that verse I heard his voice singing along with mine.  His voice rang out loudly and was comforting. I didn’t hesitate to turn and look at him now.

Then we continued together, “Gives you all his hours when he has the chance.” Now we were smiling and singing loudly in that warm SUV.  I saw the lights on inside of my home and my heart was bursting with joy, even knowing I was going back to a bare refrigerator.  On cue we continued singing together, “Take you to every party ‘cause I remember how much you loved to dance.  Do all the things I should have done when I was your man.  Do all the things I should have done when I was your man.”  Then there was silence and we were grinning at each other.

I didn’t have to tell him how much I admired him now.  I only had to thank him for the ride out of that nasty weather.  When I did so he held his hand out and I reached over and shook it.  We both paused and that hand shake was a hand-hold for a few seconds.  Then I got out of the SUV and trotted into my toasty home.  I happily went up to the barren pantry and gathered my container of raisins and my chamomile tea.  After singing with Bruno Mars, I didn’t really care what I ate for dinner.