All too often I abandon my stories. I start, and don’t finish, or I lose the book I’m writing in. . . sometimes I don’t even start the story in my head. I have many stories up there, but only a few make it out on the page.
But this story I am finishing. Remember the teaser I gave you at the end of my Brainard post? The picture that’s right up above the title of this post. This is the story I promised:
On the way home from Brainard, Mom and I saw an old abandoned farm. We like abandoned places. They have so much history. And many times, you will never know that history. You may completely forget the history, if you do know it. But there are places that you may forget where they are, or what made you stop to see them, but you will never forget them. They hold a fascination over us. There is no knowing who lived there, or what their names were, or what they did, or why they left. You can only imagine.
And many will never stop. Why stop? They may ask. There’s no reason to. And they are right. Many times, there is no reason to stop. You don’t have time. You don’t enjoy stopping. It seems too silly. But they are also wrong. Why not stop? Is there no time to wonder? To imagine?
Mom and I both enjoy an adventure, and an abandoned building.
This time, it was a farmhouse.
Long out of use, the house seemed tilted, and tired. The front porch was slowly coming away from the side of the house. But a trumpet vine, tall and lush, was holding the two together. And at the same time, tearing the two apart.
The barn seemed more resilient. Standing tall and firm, as if it still had a use; a purpose.
As if it still had a reason for not collapsing, as the house had done, when the family left. It stood still, keeping it’s roof up, and its basketball hoop straight.
We started walking around the barn. I started examining the hoop-less basketball hoop, mysterious doors I had to stand on tip-toe to open, and rusty latches.
I had opened one of the doors, and was peering through it, trying to understand what the noise was, that I seemed to be hearing inside. I knew it couldn’t be Mom–she had only gone around the barn a minute ago. . .
Mom called me.
I hurried around the side of the barn, asking “Mom, what? What?”
Then I stopped. Why was she staring into the barn? What was in there? I looked in, my eyes slowly adjusting to the dim light. My nose slowly adjusting to the less-than-dim odor.
But once my eyes adjusted, I understood why my nose had to adjust.
Sheep. Completely silent. Moving away from us slowly, silently, making their way out the other side, and the other door. . . slowly moving out of the barn, and then under the clump of trees by the barn.
Every move they made was noiseless.
It was like a dream. We went looking around the barn, and then suddenly they were there. But why was there no noise? And why, oh why were there sheep on an abandoned farm? Where were they from, and who knew they were there?
After going around the barn and watching them for a little while, seeing them silently walk, single-file, back into the barn, this farm seemed much stranger than it did when we stopped.
The sheep had made us jump, when we first saw them. They spooked us. And they made us be more wary of the whole farm. Especially as we made our way through the long grass, to the house.
As we walked up, peering through the windows, it was still quiet. Just as when the sheep had left the barn. Jus as when I was looking in through the barn door, and then watching them walk back into the barn.
But then we heard noises. Noises! They sounded like whispered voices, from far away. I turned to Mum, alarmed. “What is that?”
My mind was working, hearing those ‘voices’. I looked at the door, imagining two different scenarios: The first was me, walking slowly, carefully up to the door, and opening it. . . to find ladies sitting in old-fashioned clothes, skirts down to the floor, with lots of tucks and bustles, sipping tea from old, delicately decorated teacups, who all look at me for an instant, while I look at them, too aghast to think what to do, and then, they vanish. (These ladies, in their old-fashioned dresses (in my mind) were all in faded blue and white colors, like old china, and several had hats stuck on with large hat-pins.)
The second of these scenarios was this: I walk up to the door, just as carefully and silently, avoiding the holes in the floorboards, and open the door. . . to find two large men, one with a gun, and another with a sack. The sack the second man is holding obviously has bundles of cash in it, for I can see corners sticking out-just like in comic books. But no large money sign shows this to be absolutely true. The sack is a dingy white, and stands out in stark contrast to the black clothes the men are wearing. I didn’t let my mind go much farther with this scene. . . but the men see me. (The men are dressed in black, with leather jackets and black, hard looking boots. The one with the gun has a black turtle-neck on, under his leather, though it is so warm. Neither one wears a hat, and both have shorter, dark hair.)
“It must be doves, ” Mum replies. I look up, and can see no birds. This strengthens my desire to walk up to the door. . . to open it slowly. . . to look inside. . .
But I don’t. The door might not have even opened, if I tried it. And if it did open, it might be too dangerous to go inside, with rotting floorboards, and holes. . . but I still want to wander through the house, and find those murmuring voices.
The doves spooked me more than the sheep, seeing as my mind was running wild with what the ‘voices’ could be. But I still stayed, to take more pictures, while Mom was making her way back to the car.
And now I have a great desire to do back to this poor little loveless house, and to go inside, and walk around, to know why it’s family left it, and to have someone love it again. Even if it is only me. And someday, I hope I will go back. Back to the sweet little leaning porch that once held so many happy people going into the little house. The porch that then, again, helped them out, when they had to leave.
Someday I will go back to that house, and I will go inside, and who knows what I will find there? Someday. . .