My head jerked with jolt as the dream ended. She snored with the wild abandon of passed out, drunken sailor.
I searched strange surroundings, the opposite wall, white paint—latex maybe? The bedroom window showed the incoming morning light of the rising sun, its white linen drapes halfway opened and flooding in the light that did nothing to shade or conceal.
I slowly, painfully slid from the covers and off the bed. I used the toilet next to the nearby bathroom. I then dressed in shorts and t-shirt. It was a moment where my mind didn’t quite work as it should. My head felt fog-like where actions came before mental processes, as if I were on autopilot. I needed cup of coffee.
I was in a different environment though. I was in someone else’s house where I didn’t know where anything was. I searched the cupboards, the pantry, the cabinets and nothing.
My wife stirred and got up joining me in the kitchen and my mother-in-law joined us, showing us where the coffee was. It was instant Folgers Christal’s that we had to heat up water in pint sized mason jars.
I tasted it with trepidation because I’m used to my beans that I ground on a grinder and brewed on a Mr. Coffee. It wasn’t great but wasn’t bad either. I sat on a couch and listened to stories told. I thought of breakfast.
The brown-haired stepdaughter showed up. The teenaged step granddaughter followed. She looked like her mother but 23 years younger.
I’m working on my blog from my android and trying to describe this place that is an agrarian paradise. It has green pastures with sheep, horses and a cow grazing in a front fenced yard, a building that produces seedlings from which they are replanted in the larger outside garden behind this greenhouse. Lillian, the mother-in-law informed us the last time we came that she also grew tomatoes and other plants in the winter months so they could have those foods year-round. Further back is the chicken coop used cooperatively with a bunch of feral cats who on occasion has a litter of kittens. There is another corral where a colt and filly make their presence known and another building behind that that is used for storage though Tom, Lillian’s common law husband has suggested I use that for my private man-cave.
I think I’ll take him up on that. He’s a cowboy. Not by deed anymore. His riding days are pretty much behind him, but just to look at this tall and lean personage with white hair covered most of the time by a sweat-stained straw cowboy hat, handlebar mustache and weathered skin, he is every bit the stereotypical cowboy who wears worn Levy’s or Wranglers over equally worn boots that need new soles.
The day is cold. We drove most of twelve hours the day before in a foul cold, windy and rainy day and today felt raw and cold on our skin. I wore my jacket and shivered indoors. I looked north and west seeing the horizon of overcast clouds moving quickly with the wind pass the foothill and mountains like a run-away train.
After the breakfast in which the evangelical stepdaughter led us in grace and treated us to her version of eggs, sausage and toast with a side-serving of plain oatmeal, the unpacking commenced in earnest. Both of us should have been out there supervising this process, but we weren’t and then when I did go out there, I had to inform them the desk went into the house.
The desk is a pure wood, not certain what kind and large with three drawers on the right, a drawer in the middle for storing office supplies and keys and a stowage compartment on the left that holds the reams of paper for my printer/copier. Both men gave me that look of ‘I don’t want to mess with it’ expression. I didn’t notice my dresser which also needed to go into my bedroom.
I sensed this was going not in my favor but in my stepdaughter’s favor because she set herself a time limit as to when they were to leave. I could plainly see how this was going as boxes upon boxes of our precious cargo was loaded into a Conex box without any concern as to what was inside and ignoring the writing on the outside of each box that informed each participant where to take said carton so my wife and I could dig inside and pull out those items that needed to be removed and brought inside such as computer cords, copy paper, my alarm clock, my shoes and slippers, and our personal hygiene stuff that was clearly marked “BATHROOM.”
“The Desk won’t fit inside,” an exasperated Nick told us. I bet inside he was gloating over this and was happy he couldn’t get the monstrosity inside the house like I’d hoped. And where is my dresser? I saw them apparently finish, get in the van and her Honda Pilot, and leave among hugs and kisses with Grandma.
They’re gone now. It is just the four of us. We idly chit-chat as we go about our day. Stephanie and Lillian gossiping and catching up, Tom and I listening and interjecting when needed. Then Tom and Stephanie leave to go to Ridley’s the local grocery store. If I’d known that my belongings-personal items such as shaving and personal hygiene were safely stowed inside a Conex box buried beneath additional boxes, I would have told her we needed body wash, shaving crème and razors.
Lillian and I talked. Her accent seemed mildly southern as if she too transplanted from Oklahoma to California during the Depression and dust bowl era.
“I really enjoyed your last book,” She told me referring to A Man’s Passion. “But I wished I could have proofread it though. It was chalk full of punctuation errors and misspellings.”
“That’s odd, I went over it three or four times and they also went over it,” I replied wanting to be diplomatic in my mother in law’s home. “I’ll tell you what though, this next book I just finished, I’ll let you go over it.”
“I would appreciate it.”
I felt slighted by her comments but then she stated, “I always done this for others and even proofed read a union demand for a local union at an office I worked for and they asked me to retype it for them.”
I nodded at her and then she gave me a family history lesson of my wife and her sister, growing up in a single parent household, for the most part. I nodded and then started nodding off. The twelve-hour drive from yesterday took a lot out of me, more than I had anticipated. Her other daughter is Denise though everyone called her “Nice,” like the French resort city.
“They were wonderful girls; always picking up after themselves, being polite and respectful, doing what was told. We moved up here when Stephanie was a teenager and Nice was just twelve, I believe.” She looked at me but also was looking back in time catching this recollection she wished to share with me. It seemed as if she were an oracle of another time and I was there to record her vision and oral history to be passed on to another future race.
It wasn’t that her tales of the past bored me, far from it. Her telling me these stories gave me a clearer understanding to what it was about her and my wife. Like I said, the trip drained me. I felt myself slipping in and out of consciousness. Lillian drone on as if not paying attention to the heavy eyelids drooping shut then opening suddenly.
I’m sure she had an interesting story in store concerning me when she was alone Stephanie or Tom later when I wasn’t in earshot. I have plans for this story I have plans for many stories that I intended to write and edit. As of now I only plan to write it out like a short story; literary and filled with allegory and irony.
They arrived and came in bearing groceries that was enough for the next few days. Tom carried the bulk of the groceries and Stephanie brought in the gallon of whole milk. They put everything away in its proper places and the mother and daughter started dinner.
Alas I turned to my writing, to a story I wrote and am now editing for future hopes of publishing. In time, it will be ready. In time I will provide my publisher with another example of my ability. Today I began the new beginning of a continuing journey.