Druid in a Box, Part 2   Leave a comment

When the phone call came, she was standing bent over the kitchen table, up to her elbows in pumpkin innards.  A crop of volunteers had sprung up in a poorly-turned compost pile.  She thanked Spirit for the gift, leaving wherever she harvested pumpkin a small bundle of dried thyme in exchange.

At the first ring, she looked down at her sticky hands, then out the window.  A brief scatter of rain still sparkled on grass and leaves outside the kitchen window.  Calls these days were almost always marketers.  If it was Jack, she could call him back.  They still needed to sort out a few things.  But she would not rush the day, nor her mood, over answering the damn phone.  She did pause at the third ring.  Your worst arguments are with yourself, she remembered hearing.  No, let the machine take it.  She’d had it since high school, the black plastic housing cracked and duct-taped together.  The sexless mechanical recording came on.  She turned back to pale orange pulp and slimy seeds, slipped a couple into her mouth to chew, imagined them baked and salted.  She waited, half expecting the caller to hang up.

The raspy voice on the machine straightened her back all by itself.  Cassie, her father’s baritone said.  And paused.  Cigarette cough, the same. I want …  I’d like to talk with you.  She didn’t know how she felt.  He’d kicked her out … eleven years ago, it was.  They’d talked just twice since then.  All that weekend’s worth of argument over a festival she’d been determined to attend.  She couldn’t even remember its name.

No more of that Pagan crap in this house, he said, finally.  I’m sick of it.  You go and you don’t come back.  They didn’t yell, at the end.   Plenty beforehand.  Fine with me, she said.  She left about twenty minutes later. Didn’t even slam a door.  And that was that. But you could have bottled the acid in the air and scoured steel with it.

I’m in Sacramento now.  Oh, my number, it’s …  She heard him stumble over it.  I hope you’ll call back.  Another long pause.  As if he could hear her thinking, waiting.  Not answering.  Not wanting to.  Cassie.  The tug of her name again. Then a click and brief dial tone.  She stared bleakly at the red digital 1 that appeared on the messages screen.  How much of life was playback.

Outdoors the sky had darkened again, and her mood with it.  She knew she needed to breathe and stand in the open air, to listen to something other than her own thoughts.  Once outside, she knelt and rested her palms flat on the grass, to give her anger to the earth, not to carry it. Earth, take what I need no longer, teach through weakness what makes stronger.  She  breathed through the words, said them again, then a third time.  She would call him back this evening.  At nine, six o’clock his time.  Sacramento.  What was he doing there?  Well, she could wait to find out.

Advertisements

Thanks for visiting! Comments?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: