Tuesday, November 2, 2010

what I thought I wanted



When I was nine or ten years old, I dreamed of living on a farm.

Far away from everyone, with only the fields and trees for company.

I wrote fictional stories about farm girls and people who raised cattle and corn.

Claimed to be a country girl, though I lived in a first-ring suburb.

Years go by… and we come to yesterday.

I stood by the stove, making sure the tacos didn’t burn, my back to the window facing our yard.

I hear a commotion and look towards the door. M comes sweeping in, wheels on her feet and hand guards swirling.

“A fox! A fox ran all the way down the hill by Deanna’s, then across the street and through Donna’s back yard! Can you believe it?”

I smile. Foxes aren’t rare with the nature preserve nearby.

M leaves to tell Dad, then back out she goes, only to come in again, her eyes wide and mischievous.

“Kaye! Mom says it was too big to be a fox!”

I swallow hard, stir meat faster.

“It was a COYOTE!”

Send a prayer of thanks up to the Lord that my back was turned to the window. If I had seen it, I would still be hiding under my bed.

M giggles, knowing. “It was tall, and long, and about as big as Kira! Maybe he’ll come back so you can see him!”

I think about swatting her with my spatula, but then Mom walks in, R in tow.

She mouths, “Sorry!” And smiles at M who’s leaving to go tell Dad.

After dinner, Dad suggests we take a walk. I shiver, but being that I’m the oldest, and a little miffed that neither of my sisters who are younger than me seem not to care about a coyote, I nod to going too.

In the garage, M talks on and on and giggles about a coyote coming out from behind the car, the garage, us being on the news for a coyote in the kitchen, and so on.

I look around, see another stick I could swat her with. Thinking better of it, I stand up taller and pray that we don’t see a coyote on our walk at dusk.

Dad comes out, and boy comes too. M asks Dad to bring a stick, just in case. This time, I don’t mind. Dad doesn’t laugh, but grabs an old rake handle.

“It’s even got a no-slip grip, so you won’t get blisters while beating a coyote!” I laugh nervously, and grab for the stick. It’s something to hold onto.

On the way back from the walk, I thank Dad for putting up with my freakiness over the coyote. We hadn’t seen anything except for a dozen walkers like us.

“No problem.” M stands up ahead, peering down at the sidewalk.

She looks up, grinning, and points down to cement.

“What’s that?”

Dad looks, I look. Leaves have left brown imprints in the sidewalks. We explain, and M nods.

“I thought it might be footprints.” She skates away too fast for me to swat her with my no-slip stick.

I think about how if we were living in the country, on a farm, I would have to get used to those sneaky, icky, creatures.

And I thank the Lord ‘cause He knew what He was doing in us not living on a farm.

But placing me in a city instead.

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