Friday, June 29, 2012

Vignette (Writing & Me Part 2 of 3)



 It was morning. He could see the light through his eyelids. The sheets, cool against his skin felt good. The day would be a hot one, and humid too but that wasn't anything new to him. He had grown up in Southern Alabama and August heat was the kind of heat that was almost smothering. Days like this were made for playing slow games in the shade. If it was anything like yesterday, what day was yesterday? Summer vacations were an endless parade of Saturdays and the only way to tell when the real Saturday had arrived was the arrival of Saturday morning cartoons, but there wouldn't be any of those here. They, he and his two sisters, never watched cartoons at his grandmother's house. He called her Granny and he could smell, as he woke up further, he could smell coffee coming through the crack between the door and the hardwood floors that reached the length of the long ranch house she'd called home as long as he could remember.

He yawned hugely, thin tanned arms reaching out of the sheets and stretching into the air conditioned air. He could hear his sisters were already up and talking in the room next door. He turned and climbed out of bed and pulled on shorts and padded down the hall that ran the length of the house and stopped at the bathroom before going to the kitchen. He should have washed his hands, but he was ten and attention to that detail would come later.

Granny sat in a lounge chair in the living room reading her Bible, a thick book, thicker than his blue leatherette bound Bible given to him by his church when he was eight. He sat on the couch near her and leaned on the arm of the couch. It was broad and it felt like plastic but was probably vinyl or something other than plastic. What it was for sure was green. "What're you reading?" He asked, although he could tell by looking.

"The story of Abraham and his son," she replied putting the Bible in her lap and looking up at him. "Do you want some coffee?" Granny let him have coffee and while it was more milk and sugar than coffee it made him feel grown up. And there was always the syrupy sugar in the bottom of the cup when he was done that he could stick his fingers into and eat. There was no way all the sugar he put in his coffee would stay dissolved.

"Yes, please." He said. He liked his time alone with Granny. When his sisters got up and came out of the room things got complicated, busy, and he wasn't the center of attention anymore. There were three of them total and ideally they would all get along, but practically it would probably be the kind of day where two of them would play together and the third would feel left out. He wanted to play with his older cousin like he had yesterday, and the day before that. Then the girls could entertain themselves doing whatever it is girls did. His other cousin, the same age as his sister, the middle, and he would years later realize how much she hated being the middle sister, neither the oldest nor the youngest, but some numinous middle, would probably play with them. He was the closest thing to a girl for miles around here where yards were made of pecan orchards and houses were far enough apart that almost nobody walked from house to house.

He drank his coffee at the bar that bridged the kitchen and living room, cut right through the wall! He wasn't allowed to take the cup away from the table in case he spilled.

"Why Abraham? You've read that before." He was familiar with the story of Abraham and his son and the mountain and the sacrifice and God, at the last minute not making the dad kill his son. He'd never liked the story.

"It's a beautiful story of faith and trusting God. The worst thing in the world for a parent is to lose their child and Abraham trusted God wouldn't do that to him so he went up the mountain knowing God wouldn't make him suffer that way. So he went up with his son and trusted God to not be cruel."

"But what about his son? It still seems mean to him." He asked sipping his coffee.

"Not if he trusts that God won't ever ask more of us than we can do. That's the important thing to remember. It's one of my favorite stories. It reminds me that God's looking out for us, and even when he puts things in front of us that look impossible they're not. He'll provide a way if we trust Him."

He finished his coffee and got down from the high chair and put his cup in the sink before giving his Granny a hug and going outside to find his cousin who was the closest house, the only close house, to see if he was up to playing in a fort they'd built in the shade of the azalea bushes. The azaleas were so big once you were in them you could stand up and still be covered by their canopy and his uncombed long blond hair, not curly like it would be once puberty set in, wouldn't touch the branches. As he walked barefoot out the door and onto the dewy grass he heard his sisters getting up. He'd made it out just in time.
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