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Thursday, 11 July 2013

Summer Afternoon in Ohio

By Riverwatch who blogs at I've Landed

It is a dark afternoon and I am most thrilled. No lightening, of course, or my excitement would twist into anxiety, an easy turn for me. The low-slung clouds shift even lower giving the Ohio wind a dramatic boost our way.

“Hey! Ain't this great?” shouts Markie, waving his stick in the wind.

“Hell”, muses Carolyn cautiously. She, being the oldest sibling and self-deceived about the importance of her role within our small group, tries to decide whether to proceed further on our woodland hike and risk a cloud burst or whether to turn back home to a boring summer afternoon.

Naturally Carolyn does not discuss the workings of her mind with me and Markie. This top-dog-isolation is part and parcel of her straight-A-student aura.

That is okay, her not needing our brain power. She will not try to turn us back. Now that I am 13 and Markie is 12, we are much harder to influence. No power struggles have ever ensued among us.

Carolyn's decision-making power only means she will be the target for the fallout from any choices we make this day. She does not have the power of choice. Markie and I have the real power, the power to remain blameless.

So we go deeper into the darkening green of the woods. Youth swirls around us like an energy field cleansing our blood for purer oxygen uptake, stretching our nerves to the transparency of fairy wings, clearing parental voices from our heads and erasing all thoughts of failure. We are alive with hope.

Markie promptly runs off to the left and disappears beyond the crest of a mossy ravine. Carolyn watches, unsmiling and mute.

I imagine Riley coming over the outcropped rock to the right. Accidentally, of course. I imagine his surprise, his sexy smile of gladness to bump into me! Darlene would not be with him, of course.

Markie returns, bored without his female audience. “Hurry up!” he commands us.

My reverie ends abruptly but the wind hugs me firmly in my sudden feeling of aloneness. Carolyn turns her back on Markie, knowing some personal power exists in denying him audience. She trudges straight ahead.

Markie snarls his face silently at her departing back. I laugh and he relaxes, good humor restored. We follow slowly behind our sister. “Nathan Frost likes you,” Markie offers by way of conversation.

How has my brother figured out my crush on Nathan? I am mortified. I say nothing.

“Really,” he doggedly pursues.

I still say nothing and I hurry ahead to catch up with Carolyn. Riley is the one I allow to walk softly through my dreams. Riley is a wounded young man, a lonely only child, somewhat abandoned by his father and in the horrid heart-wrenching aftermath of his mom's untimely and sudden death. I love feeling sorry for Riley.

Nathan, on the other hand, completely scrambles me.

Nathan is athletic, scholastic, class leader and likes everybody. Even walking beside him makes me mute but I do love walking beside him! But this is my business and is none of Markie's business and furthermore, I do not like the fact that I sometimes see Nathan talking to my younger brother!

Just then the skies open up on us! The cloudburst is sudden though not without warning. The forest trees offer no protection whatsoever. Carolyn has already turned back towards home and Markie and I follow her but in front of her.

“Get moving!” she orders as small rivers of water begin cascading down the hill. Markie breaks into a run. Carolyn breaks into a run.

I pray. I do not feel like running, especially after them. The rain is stinging my face and arms. Suddenly Carolyn and Markie outdistance me and disappear. Now I feel like running.

Finally the cloudburst is over but we are soaked, muddy and still panting heavily as we straggle up the graveled path to home. Carolyn climbs the steps to the porch. Mom is standing in the doorway with arms folded. Carolyn speaks as an adult to Mom. “Some of your children are idiots.”

Mom does not correct her.

“Markie is the real idiot,” I say for no apparent reason as I pass Mom.

Markie grins. “Did I tell you Nathan loves Betsy? He likes you. He loves Betsy.”

“Serves all-you-all right,” Mom says matter-of-factly, looking at our plight. “I told all-you-all not to go.”

Who cares whether Mom cares or not. It doesn't matter. Nathan loves Betsy.

[INVITATION: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. They can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, etc. Please read instructions for submitting.]

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 05:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post


Your tendrils of childhood memories still excite me at age 83. Wasn't childhood mysterious but wonderful.

Yes, it was Johna, and something has sparked recent writers about these "looking back" writings...I am loving them so much...Maybe it is only after you have lived for decades that you can look back lovingly and with tender feelings about many days and times that at another time you would have had to be nailed down to recall, never mind write about...I have to mull all this over for a while because reliving your childhood, no matter how wonderful or dreadful it might have been takes deep introspection and seems too
intense for how I am feeling at this great stage of life..too much of a soap opera, not enough of the belly laughs and innocent days of the past...yes mysterious but wonderful..

Well written. I am afraid that a few of my childhood adventures would be labeled today ss juvenile delinquency.

Well, I was silent on those adventures! :)

Reminds me so much of my youth in so many ways.

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