I woke yesterday with an unshakable sense that the winds of change had set themselves upon my tiny home.
The peacock has left the park, I thought. I lay by the open window and listened for its shriek. A finch twittered overhead, flitting from branch to branch in the towering oak. But I heard no cry from the meadow; no lingering anguished squawk.
I shuffled through my morning ritual, then drove the long way out of the park, straining to find the shimmering green of the long tail feathers beneath the willow tree. Nothing.
My friend Catherine Kenyon came to visit today. The cadence of her speech sounded like home to me. We lunched at Korth’s Pirate’s Lair and drove west of Rio to see the wind mills. She entertained me with an account of the whale which once drifted too far east and had to be rescued. We sat on my new deck and studied two maps — hers on paper, mine on the google-tron. I dashed inside to grab the Jake Kimbrell “House by the River” postcards which I had just purchased. I thrust them into her hand — the perfect souvenir. She tried to demure but I insisted. I want her to remember the beauty of this place; I want her to take a piece of my new world back with her.
Then we embraced and she made her way off the island and over the Bay. On Monday she flies back to the Midwest, where the seasons turn as the Missouri River meanders through farmlands and winds around the City.
Finally the moment which I have been dreading all week could not be forestalled any longer, despite my dogged determination. I had to say goodbye to Sally and Bill. I cannot stave off the tears.
Sally says, we’ll see you in late September, though Bill mutters under his breath, “or early October, if she finds one more turn to take”. Bill secures the wobbly banister to my writing loft, which he had been meaning to do all spring. Sally and I sit on the deck talking about our respective experiences in physical therapy. The little dog Buddy curls at her feet.
They carry their fire pit around to the back of my house. See? Sally assures me. We’re leaving our fire pit here. We have to return.
My storage shed still houses a box of discarded belongings, for the retrieval of which no footsteps ever trod a remembered path upon my stairs. I do not trust this particular guarantee.
Bill hugs me and then drives the car to their side of the park for one last night. Sally wraps her arms around me; then she and Buddy walk away. I’m desperately texting her before they make it to their rig. Tell Bill the railing is so secure! It’s fabulous! Thank you for everything! Take care of yourself! (*crying emoji*).
Sally sends a heart and repeats for the twentieth time, “We’ll be back.”
The sun sets. I slump over the table, weeping into my dinner. I do not have so many friends that I can easily say goodbye to three in a single day.
It’s the fifteenth day of the sixty-sixth month of My Year Without Complaining. Life continues.