Monday, March 21, 2016

So Close, and Yet So Far

I ran errands for Granny. Sometimes she needed me to take a bowl of her green beans, covered in foil, to my Uncle Ronnie next door; or she might even ask if I cared to run a roll of masking tape to Aunt Nina two houses down.
I never minded running errands during daylight hours; but when dusk opened its fist and stretched its long gray fingers across Galley Street, my heart stuck in my throat. I had to call up the bravest part of myself in order to make the trip.
I didn't want Granny to know I was too scared to be helpful; so I said sure I could do it.
"I'll do whatever you need, Granny!"
She handed over whatever knick knack I was supposed to deliver.
"Could you watch me from the door?" I asked.
"Of course I can!" she said.
I had my suspicions that Granny went on about her business inside once I'd waded out of the yellow porch light that puddled up just past the concrete driveway. I had a long way to go alone, darkness gathering as fast as dust in the corners.
Once I hit the road, I trained my eyes on the tracks that Papaw's backhoe had made years ago when they first laid the blacktop. In the dim light of early evening, I imagined the parallel imprints were slats on a bridge...a swinging bridge. Clutching my prize in hand tight enough to still my nerves but not tight enough to ruin it, I made my way, one foot in front of the other.
I was in the bayou longer a mountain girl. If I squinted my eyes just so, I could almost make out the olive hump of an alligator's head, swimming in the swamp I imagined I was crossing.
Right in front of Uncle Ronnie's porch, I leapt off the bridge, right before it snapped, the ropes crushed in the jaws of the angry gator. I landed, both feet flat on the cool summer grass and ran headlong down the hill to my uncle's door. I was breathless when Aunt Betty answered.
* * *
I took the back way to Granny's, jumping the drainage ditch like a hurdler and practically flew up the steps that led to Granny's driveway.
There she stood, just inside the screen door, silhouetted by light from the front hall.
I caught a deep breath. Maybe she had waited, while I acted out yet another death-defying adventure. Regardless, she was there now, watching from the door...just like she promised.


  1. What an imagination you had, no wonder you scared your self with the alligator lying in wait. Love this description "when dusk opened its fist and stretched its long gray fingers across Galley Street." Granny had your back, all the time.

  2. Wow. What an imagination and adventure you had. No wonder you were breathless at the end. Granny didn't let you down.

  3. While I was reading your slice Lori, I felt it was such a rich, imaginative tale from a little girl's point of view. Your details are specific enough for me to picture the whole tale as it moved from one place to the next. Your Granny must have had a watchful eye all along.

  4. Oh Lori, I so enjoyed reading this adventure! Couldn't wait for the next word!