By: C. Desert Rose
© April 2017 C. Desert Rose
All rights reserved
No part of this book may be reproduced in any written, electronic, recording, or photocopying form without written permission of the publisher, All Authors Publishing House.
Books may be purchased in quantity and/or special sales by contacting the author/publisher, at [email protected]
Published by: C. Desert Rose
Interior Design by: All Authors Graphic Design
Cover Design by: All Authors Graphic Design
Editing by: All Authors Publications & Promotions
BISAC: Contemporary Drama
First eBook Edition
Printed in the United States
Martina Foxworthy, now old and gray, feeling feeble, aged and lonely, stared outside of the sole window in the bedroom of her log cabin home. Sitting on the old and tattered wooden rocking chair that always faced it, she considered the fog that seemed so thick it could be cut with a knife. There was, of course, something dream-like in the smog that gave way to a vivid memory of her youth. Allowing her mind to wander, Martina followed its lead.
The spring of her eighteenth birthday, Martina felt like a misfit just as she had her entire life. She’d been told that said feeling would change when she got older. Well, she was older now and nothing had changed. She was, for all intended purposes, an adult. Eighteen; she could vote, smoke, buy alcohol—although not consume it—even go into a bar if she so desired. And yet, that profuse and innate sensation of not fitting in had become such an all-consuming part of her life that Martina didn’t know how not to feel it. Every spring, during the Easter Holiday, Martina and her kin took a two-week hiatus at the family log cabin, purchased an umpteenth million years ago, by her great grandfather Martin Foxworthy the Second.
If anyone ever wondered how she’d gotten her name, all they had to do was look at the family tree. Her father, Martin Foxworthy, was the fifth in his bloodline. And, since he’d not spawned a son first, but a daughter, Martin added an A to the end of the name and blessed their female child with a name that no one would ever want.
Sitting on the rocking chair in front of her bedroom window—one which had been there for longer than Martina could even recall—she swayed back and forth, as she watched the wind sweep through the tree. Martina looked at nothing in particular; just the way the leaves moved and bumped off one another every time the wind flew by.
When, abruptly a softball floated through the clouds, which served as the tree’s back drop. Through the leaves it flew, ultimately crashing through her bedroom window, bopping Martina right on the head.
The only thing Martina summoned up when she opened her eyes was a cracking sensation on the top of her head, then waking up on the Living room couch with ice on her head, and smelling salts in her face. A throb so hard and loud that it reverberated down her spine and threatened to make her upchuck. Gagging then plopping her back against the couch, Martina whispered, “What happened?” then gripped the ice pack on her head so that it wouldn’t fall.
“My softball crashed through your window and hit you on the head. I’m so sorry.”
With her vision still blurred, Martina couldn’t decipher who was talking nor could she recognize the voice. “Who is it?” she asked, her voice still barely more than a mumble.
A wave of whispered voices ran through the room indicating that there was more than one person. Martina could only surmise that the entire family had congregated to witness her embarrassment. “Who just spoke?” she corrected, lest someone else respond to her.
“Jonathan M. Hines, Jonny for short. I am really so, so sorry. I didn’t mean to hit the ball so hard. I had no-”
Before Jonny could finish the sentence, Martina cut in. “What’s the M stand for?”
Jonny was stupefied, had he really hit her that hard? “Excuse me? I’m sorry, huh?”
“The M,” Martina reiterated, “What’s the M stand for?”
Jonny looked around the room at the people standing witness, the look on his face both weary and confused. Martina’s father nodded his head once in confirmation that Jonny could freely answer the question. “Um … Martin.” He shrugged.
Martina’s father smiled large then tucked a hand in his pockets, his chest swelling in pride.
“Figures …!” Martina bumbled.
“Uh- excuse me?” Now Jonny was perplexed ten-fold. What if the injury had truly been that terrible? How would he be able to make it right? How could he fix it? His part-time job wasn’t nearly enough to pay the medical bills that this girl would surely pile up.
Martina jumped to her feet and yanked the ice pack from her head. However, just as quickly as she’d stood, she toppled right back down. “Please, stay. Don’t- I mean, you’re hurt. You can get dizzy and fall down and make things worse.” Jonny stammered most of his explanation as nerves had really began to take their toll.
“Relax, Martin.” Martina blurted acerbically, then scoffed.
“I- it’s Jonny.”
“Got it, Martin.”
“J- Jon-” Jonny looked around the room again. Martina’s father shrugged, then slowly but surely every family member exited the room nonchalantly. Jonny finished, “It’s Jonny.”
“Look, Martin, I have things to do. I need to get back to my room. So, if you’ll excuse me,” Martina grasped her head as another wave of throbs went ripping through it, “Damn!” she thought she’d exclaimed, but what she hadn’t realized was that her voice had yet to regain its normal luster. Hushing herself, Martina lowered her voice even more and tried again. “Eh-em, okay … Martin, I know you feel bad and all. But, look, it’s okay. I’m fine. I just need some Advil and I’ll be good to go.”
“But you have a pretty big knot on the top of your head. We’re just waiting for the doctor to get here to check you out. You might have a concussion or something.”
“Oh.” Martina’s lips pressed together and her eyes shrank to slivers. “Um, so, tell you what Martin. You can go. I’ll just wait here for the doctor and then go about my business. Don’t worry about it, you don’t owe me anything.” If Martina were to be completely honest with herself, the pushing away of Jonny wasn’t because he annoyed her—she didn’t even know him—it was because she could not be any more embarrassed. She just wanted to wallow in her embarrassment by her lonesome, not with spectators.
“Well, all right, if you insist.” Jonny concluded and then cautiously got up and walked out.
“I insist.” Martina finished, although Jonny had already left.
What a way to start a vacation! Martina said to herself.
The following morning, as did the entire week that followed, Jonny stopped by the Foxworthy log cabin to check on Martina. Each day, Martina called from her room, “I’m fine, Martin, you can go now.”
Truth be told, she wasn’t fine. She had a concussion just as everyone had assumed.
“Don’t mind her, Martin, she’d just being moody.” Martina’s mother interjected into the not-so-deep conversation.
“It’s Jonny, Mrs. Foxworthy.”
“Of course, it is, Martin.” Then Mrs. Foxworthy turned to her husband and asked him to pass her the gallon of milk from the fridge. Jonny huffed in exasperation and resignation.
On the first day of the second week—or day eight of the overall holiday—Jonny stopped by one more time. On a very off chance, he happened to run into Martina in the kitchen serving herself a cup of orange juice. Other than her, the house was empty.
“Oh, hey. How are you?” Jonny asked, feeling a bit strange that no one else was home and Martina was in a t-shirt nighty, looking like she’d just hopped out of bed.
“Hey,” She responded, her voice as groggy as he. “I’m fine, Martin.” Offering Jonny a misplaced toast with her glass of orange juice, Martina turned around to go sit at the dining room table.
Trekking over to the table, Jonny sat in the seat opposite Martina.
“Why do you keep calling me Martin?”
“That’s your name, ain’t it?”
“My middle name.”
“Your name regardless.”
Knowing this was an argument that he wouldn’t win, Jonny dropped the subject altogether. “So, how long will your family be here? Mine usually takes an entire month. We stay in the log cabin just down the road, about a half mile out.”
Martina nodded, “I’ve seen it. It’s nice. Looks like a log cabin.”
Jonny chuckled. The irony was that every log cabin in the vicinity looked identical.
“A month, huh? Lucky you. Must be a real treat sitting in a small space with your family practically on top of you, breathing your air and eating your food, while irritating your very existence.”
“Well, aren’t you a heap of fun.” Jonny said, sarcasm obvious.
“Oh wow. You do that too?” Martina asked, making Jonny wonder what she was talking about.
“Do what?” Jonny asked, genuinely curious.
“Sarcasm. Didn’t know you had it in you.”
Jonny laughed aloud this time. It was pretty clear that this girl didn’t know how funny she was. “You’re funny.”
Martina’s face cocked in a bizarre way. “Funny? Well, I’ll be damned. That’s the first time I hear that. I’m mostly told I’m obnoxious, dry, irritable … narcissistic even, but never funny. Nope, never funny.”
Jonny damn near fell out from a fit of laughter. The entire time Martina looked at him befuddled. No one had ever gotten her dry sense of humor like that before. She didn’t know how to react. So, she sat there and stared, immobile.
A deep, hard breath drawn in, followed by a fit of coughs woke Martina up from the clear memory that had taken her away from this familiar place. After so many years, so many changes—in the world and in her life—and this place remained exactly the same. Even the stale, creaking, halfcocked rocking chair. Patting herself on the chest lightly, Martina finally inhaled enough air to soothe the fussy cough that she’d grown so accustomed to. How she hated the thought of having gotten used to a fastidious cough. Maybe she was old. Oh, who was she kidding. She was now seventy-five years old, of course she was old. So technology had found a way to extend human life, so what?! Humans still aged, most of them badly. That was the reality. And for all of the advances in technology, there were still some things that technology—or the age of Aquarius—had yet to correct finitely. Like sickness, for example.
It wasn’t until that thought crossed her mind that Martina realized that the thick fog had already cleared, and the sun beamed in the happiest point of the sky.
Unwittingly, Martina looked at its splendor and lost her train of thought once again.
Martina opened her eyes to a beam of light brighter than anything she’d ever seen penetrating right through her eyelids. Flickering her eyes open and immediately swinging her arm above her brow to block out the light, Martina looked around and realized that she’d fallen asleep on the beach adjacent to the log cabin.
“Shit, I hope I didn’t burn.” She said out loud and heard Jonny laugh immediately. “Oh, shut up, Martin.” Jonny laughed even harder.
“Look, just because-” before Martina could finish, the sweet voice of a little girl, no more than five years of age cut her off.
Sitting up at once, Martina looked at her daughter who wore the cutest pink bathing suite anyone had ever seen—frilly stuff on the butt end, and everything.
No child has ever been cuter, Martina thought to herself.
Before she could reply, Jonny interjected, “Woman, your daughter is calling you. Chop, chop.”
“She’s your daughter too, you know. You can get’ta choppin’ too.” Jonny giggled. Turning her attention to her child, Martina called, “Yes, baby, what is it?”
Extending her hands to her new creation, baby-girl Marty pointed out the would-be sand castle she thought she’d created. “See?” She exclaimed in glee.
“Yes, my love, well done! Well done, indeed.” Martina clapped.
“Yay!” Marty whooped, “Daddy, let’s make another one!”
After ten very fast years, who would have thought that awkward Martina would end up with an even awkwarder Jonathan M. Hines, or Martin for short. Still more astonishing was the fact that after all these years they still came to this log cabin retreat. Now an even more engrained family tradition, there was no way of undoing themselves of the holiday.
Of course, after her father passed away, Martina felt it her duty to accompany her mother up here every year. Especially, now that her siblings no longer did it.
Allowing Marty and Jonny to play for a bit longer, Martina called out, “Okay guys, it’s almost dinner time and I’m sure that Grammy is about done cooking up half the house. So … let’s clean up and get going.”
“Awww …!” Marty pouted.
“Now, now, none of that, young lady. You know your Grammy loves seeing you eat her cooking, you little Pudgy Monster, you.” Jonny said as he poked his daughter’s tummy.
Marty giggled and went about cleaning up her things, putting the shovel and pail in her red Radio Flyer wagon, a vintage find that Gramps had revamped for her before he passed away. At the time, Marty was just two years old.
Upon arriving at the log cabin, and as anticipated, Grammy had made a meal big enough for an army.
“Mom, it’s just the four of us, why are you making so much food? It’s a waste.”
“It’s never a waste, Dear. The neighborhood kids will come by and eat it up, I’m sure.”
At this point, Martina was certain that her mother was losing her marbles. They were at the log cabin, there were no neighborhood kids. “But mo-”
Just as Martina was going to state her case, Jonny caught her frame of sight and waved a “don’t do it” sign toward her, hushing her statement immediately. Lowering her head, Martina sat at the table, “Alright, mom.”
“Wonderful,” Mrs. Foxworthy said, then brought the silverware to the table and sat. “Come on, Marty, baby, let’s eat. Grammy made all your favorites.”
Marty hooted with joy and plopped her tush on a chair, still in her wet bathing suit. Jonny sat opposite Martina as he’d grown accustomed to doing as well. Before long, everyone had eaten more than anyone of them cared to admit, leaving scraps spayed out across the expanse of the table.
“See there, dear, nothing goes to waste.”
“Yes, mom.” Martina replied, lowering her head in humility. Lifting her gaze over to her husband, she gave him a look that he recognized as being self-conscious and not liking to be proved wrong. Giving his wife a tender smile, Jonny shrugged his shoulders inaudibly telling her that everything would be alright. It was then that Martina remembered why she had fallen so in love with Jonny. He had a way of understanding her that no one had, and he had an innate ability to always make her feel okay about not being perfect.
In the background, little Marty went about her business of playing with whatever entertained her in that moment.
A loud crash snapped Martina out of her daze. Instinctively, she blurted, “Marty, be careful, baby!” Shaking her head and looking behind her, Martina realized that is wasn’t her daughter—who was now a grown woman—but her cat Snickers.
“Snickers, get off the fireplace! You’re knocking things over.” Snickers looked at his owner and ignoring what she said altogether, continued his investigation of the tapestry on the fireplace.
Hmm, I wonder what Marty is up to? Martina asked herself.
Finally getting off the rocking chair, Martina walked to the kitchen counter to grab her cellular phone and dialed her daughters phone number.
After five rings, “Hey, you’ve reach Marty and the crew. We’re not available. You know what to do.” Beep.
“Eh-em, hi Marty. It’s me, your mother. Just wanted to say hello and that I love you. Call me when you can.” Softly and slowly, Martina removed the phone from her ear and pressed the red button. It seemed to her that nowadays everything she did was soft and slow. Whatever happened to the speed and adrenaline that ruled her existence. Yet another thing that time and age had revoked from her. Martina sighed in annoyance. Making herself a cup of Earl Gray Tea before going back to her favorite place in the world, Martina took a seat and clicked on the radio that was closest to her.
Music ought to help ease the incessant reminiscence.
Aaaand, welcome to 102.7 FM Radio, where the sun always shines and the oldies always rhyme. This is Jack Heart, your host. Today, were giving a shout out to all you 2nd decade Y2K kiddos. We’re playing oldies from the years 2010 – 2019. Now, grind your gears and fall in love with Adele all over again. Here you have it folks; Adele, “One and Only”.
The soft music started and Martina felt her back hit the back of the rocking chair, causing it to start its lull.
You’ve been on my mind …
I grow fonder every day, lose myself in time …
Just thinking of your face …
God only knows …
Why it’s taken me so long to let my doubts go …
You’re the only one that I want …
The image of Marty wearing her lovely red prom dress came clear as day; corsage tied onto her right hand, her hair made up beautifully. She was the image of perfection. For such a confident girl, the jitters were displayed on her face like a movie reel.
“Mom, do you think he’ll like it?”
Marty’s voice came so clear that Martina could have sworn that her daughter was right there in the room with her. Looking around then facing the doorway that led out of the room, the area morphed into another place and time altogether. And there, in all of her magnificence, Marty stood, swaying back and forth as she displayed her final appearance to her mother. Martina’s heart swelled with pride.
“He’s a fool if he doesn’t, baby.”
Marty blushed. “Thanks, mommy.”
Martina’s heart filled with tenderness. The only time Marty every called her mommy nowadays was when she was truly sincere.
“Daddy, what do you think?” Marty asked, catching her father off guard.
Jonny was choked up, he could scarcely get the words out. “Beautiful. Just-” he scratched his throat to clear the knot. “… beautiful.” He finished.
Marty dipped her head in a coy and flattered gesture. “Thanks, daddy.”
“You’re-” Jonny cleared his throat once more, “You’re welcome, Pudgy Monster.”
Marty gave her dad a stern look, for she knew that she hadn’t been a pudgy monster since she was ten years old. That made no never mind, as for Jonny, Marty would always be his Pudgy Monster.
Amicably considering and counting her blessings, Martina watched as the two loves of her life made a memorable exchange. Jonny took his daughter by the hand to lead her down the steps, and out to meet her beau. Pride consumed Jonny to a point of gloating, and once he’d reached the young man wearing the black tuxedo and carrying a rose for Marty, he stated ruefully, “You already know what I’m gonna say. So, just, do the right thing.”
“Yes, Sir, Mr. Hines, sir.”
“Marty,” Martina called before the kids took off in the Limousine, “don’t forget to invite your friends to the graduation party at the log cabin.”
“Yes, mom! I won’t!”
Just like that, Martina found herself all alone in the log cabin once more. The memory fading like liquid splashed on a water painting. Martina sighed. How she wished she could return to those days. How she hurt knowing they were all but gone. It was torture and bliss all at once. Knowing this was her life, but also understanding that the hands of time did not run backwards, was like loving one’s hell. That was the biggest lesson Martina had learned in her now seventy-five years.
Sipping on her pipping hot cup of Earl Gray Tea, Martina decided she would no longer succumb to the torment and delight that were her recollections. She was done thinking and remembering for today. She had had it.
At least until her phone rang ….
“Mom, you okay?”
“Of course, why wouldn’t I be?” Marty had decided long ago that whenever her mother called it was because there must be something tragic happening. Call it paranoia, hypertension or concern. Whatever it was, she couldn’t help herself. “I’m fine. Like I said in my message, I just wanted to say hello and give you my love.”
“Oh, you left a message?”
“Yes, I did.”
“Oh, okay. Sorry. Didn’t check those.”
“I’m not surprised.”
“I love you too, mom.”
“Because I’m not surprised?” Martina’s brows arched in wonder.
“No, silly. You said you loved me and I said, I love you too.”
“Oh, oh, right. Yes, that. How are the kiddos?”
“They’re fine. Leopold graduated with honors; got his Bachelors. He went to college late, but he did it, so that’s good. Him and Roger had planning on adopting. Mercedes is doing something in fashion, although I don’t know what that is. She has a boyfriend. I don’t like him.”
“Why’d you have to give those kids such strange names?”
“They’re names, mom. Just names.”
“Yeah, but a lot of history can be attached to a name. And a place.”
“Right, like ‘Martin’?” Marty asked sardonically.
“Yes, that’s right. Very much like Martin.”
“Okay, mom, whatever. I didn’t call you to argue about my kids’ names, mom.”
“Yeah, I know. I’m sorry. I was just thinking out loud, I guess.”
“You do that a lot, mom. I’m used to it.” Marty responded indifferently. “At any rate, I have to go now, mom. I love you. Talk to you later. Be safe out there. You know that log cabin is old.”
“So am I, baby. So am I.”
“Uhh,” Marty rolled her eyes, and while Martina couldn’t see it, she could feel it. “Okay, mom. Okay, bye.”
“Good bye, love.”
If sands in an hourglass could run backwards—being swept upwards through the funnels of time by an unpredictable force of nature—that was exactly what this very moment felt like for Martina.
Suddenly, time went in reverse.
“Here lay to rest a wonderful man, father, husband, brother and friend. A man that meant much to many, but to none as much as his own wife and daughter. Jonathan Martin Hines was a man of his word, of a kind heart and of impeccable character. He was, all throughout his life, a figure to be admired and appreciated. Living his life in a way that most could only aspire, Jonathan, lovingly called “Martin” by his wife Martina, did the best he could with what he had and gave the shirt off his back to those in need. Never once did he purposefully hurt, harm or do wrong to anyone, but lived an integral and genuine life alongside all those who he loved and cared about. Today, we gather together to bid a final good-bye to a man who will be missed. Not just for what he was, but for who he was … to all of us.”
Amongst sobs and sniffles of sadness, people doting their Sunday’s best black garments, and a reverend whose voice was bigger than his body, Martina felt awkward … again. How did his passing pave the way for her awkwardness to return? Had he been the anchor keeping this boat of ineptitude from sailing all these years? Perhaps he had been, for all of the sudden Martina felt like her head was ten times its size and everyone was staring at it as a booger hung from the tip of her nose. Immediately, she touched the tip of her nose to make sure she was wrong. Shaking her head, Martina looked around and realized that no one was looking at her. Everyone was engulfed in the service.
Then it hit her like a ton of bricks. Everyone was crying. Everyone, but her. How could she not be crying and carrying on? What was wrong with her? Was she heartless? After all, she’d been the one who’d spent day in and day out with Jonny at the hospital for the entire week proceeding his unforeseen brain aneurysm, while comatose. It’s not like she didn’t know he was going to pass. She knew before it even happened. She knew that she’d be losing the love of her life. So … why? Why no tears? Why no sobs of pain and disillusion? Why no flippant pageant of emotions, like all the rest?
Am I broken?
As person after person, lined up behind one another to greet the widow and offer their condolences, Martina could do nothing but nod her head and say thank you; Marty posted on her right side, down laden features and droopy eyes, snot coating her nostrils. Not something very common for the twenty-year-old college party girl.
Then, at the most inopportune moment, the most cheeky, imprudent, garrulous old woman approached her to offer her own form of commiserations. “Don’t worry dear. Jonathan is now in God’s bosom. And, I assure you, God will bring you another man to take care of you.”
Martina’s head surged upwards to stare the old woman right in the eyes, Martina’s eyes lit was enmity and insult. “Um … excuse me? What did you say?”
“God. God, will bring you another great man. He will provide. Not to worry.”
“‘Another man’? ‘Another man’?”
The old lady nodded in a floundering way, unsure of what was about to happen. “Yes, dear.”
“So … ‘God will bring me another man.’ Isn’t that quaint! Isn’t that just lovely. ‘Another man’.” Martina scoffed, shrugged her shoulders and sucked her teeth before carrying on. “So, God’s gonna send me another man to love me like Martin did? Take care of me like Martin did? Which, by the way, I don’t need taking care of! And, God’s gonna provide another man to be Marty’s father like Martin was, and stay up with me all night when Marty was sick with a fever? God’s gonna provide another man to accept me for my flaws and my virtues like Martin did? And kiss my forehead tenderly after making love to me freely like Martin did? God’s gonna do that, huh?”
The old lady nodded again. This time tears welling up in her eyes.
“Well, I’ll tell you what lady! GOD WAS THE ONE WHO TOOK HIM AWAY! GOD DID THAT! So … why the hell would GOD want to send me another man when he took away the only one I ever loved?! Do you know HOW UNCOMMON a brain aneurysm is?! Do you realize how rare his death was?! DO YOU?! Why the FUCK would GOD want to send me another man when he OBVIOUSLY WANTED ME TO LOSE THE ONLY ONE I EVER WANTED!!”
By this point, the crowd was attempting to calm Martina down. People pulled at her left and right, shushing her and coaxing her to calm down.
“NO! NO, I WILL NOT CALM DOWN! FUCK THIS! FUCK GOD! I WANT MARTIN! I WANT MY MARTIN BACK! THAT’S ALL I WANT!” And, just like that, a tsunami of tears tore at her heart and soul as it ravaged her entirely and threatened to annihilate her completely.
Much later that night, when all was quiet, the crowd had dissipated into nothing and Marty had opted to spend the night at her best-friend’s house for comfort, Martina found herself alone on the wooden posted bed in her sanctuary. The log cabin.
After Marty went off to college, she and Jonny had moved there for good. No one else in the family wanted the house, so they made it their home.
Spayed out on the bed, black dress still on, shoes kicked off to the floor and hair in an unkempt mess, Martina cried. She cried and cried until she felt as though her very being had shriveled into an empty caucus—dehydrated and stale. Grasping and clawing blindly for Jonny’s pillow, Martina finally grabbed it and pulled it to her face; her melting makeup smearing all over the fabric. Pressing the pillow firmly to her chest, Martina inhaled her husband’s scent. Then again—stronger this time.
Coughing led to yet another stream of tears, these less pungent than the last for her strength had all but evanesced. Closing her eyes as tightly as she could Martina tried to remember the curves and creases of her husband’s face, praying to any deity that would listen, that she never forget the look of her Jonny. Her Martin.
Deep in prayer, Martina finally drifted off to sleep.
When she awoke, she was sitting on the rocking chair, Earl Gray Tea in hand, soft music playing from the radio, and her skin a shriveled as a prune. Had she really done this to herself from crying so hard? Touching her cheek, she felt the wetness of tears, and then it hit her.
Right … it was a memory. Martin, I still love you.
Fixated on remember the exact number of years since his parting, Martina did the math.
“Let’s see, Marty was twenty. How old is she now?” lifting her fingers to tally, “Oh, right, fifty-three. How did that happen?” Martina’s face contorted into a confused frown. Then she went on, speaking to Snickers, but not really. “So, that’s how many years now, Snickers?” touching her thumb to each finger she kept counting. Oh, thirty-three years. Thirty-three years since I’ve seen his face, Snickers, that’s a long time. But, I still remember it. How about that? I can’t remember what I had for breakfast, but I remember my Martin.”
Snickers meowed, as if he understood Martina’s mumbling.
“Eh, I don’t have much longer to go, Snickers. I’ll see him again soon, I’m sure. I mean, look at me. How much longer do you think I have?”
Snickers mewed even louder, “Don’t yell at me, young man. But, yeah, my thoughts exactly. Any day now.”
Purring, Snickers turned around and went to his food bowl. Martina, on the other hand, faced the window once more.
A knock on the door caught Martina’s off guard. Gradually, getting up from her seat, she went to answer the door.
“Who is it?”
“It’s me, grandma, Leopold.”
A smile parted Martina’s lips, instantly elated by the surprise visit. Moving as quickly as she could, she rushed to open the door.
“Hey, grammz!” Leopold greeted happily. Leopold’s big, bright smile brought a twinkling to Martina’s eyes.
“Hi, baby!” Martina reached out to give him a huge hug and a kiss on the cheek. “Looking out the door, behind Leopold, Martina asked, “Where’s Roger?”
Instantly, Leopold’s face went from happiness to seriousness. “We had a tiff.”
“What was it now?” Martina asked knowing that there was bound to be a big story behind the disagreement.
“Well, the adoption thing fell through again. So, I told him that maybe we were being scammed. He didn’t want to believe it and wanted to try again. I don’t want to anymore.”
“Because I’m tired of getting my heart broke, grandma. I don’t want to cry myself to sleep anymore.”
Martina nodded, completely understanding where Leopold was coming from. If anyone knows pain …! She thought. Rubbing her grandson’s back, she said, “It’s gonna be alright, baby. Just give him some time to calm down. I’ll make you some tea.”
“No, grammz, I’ll make it. You go sit down.”
“All right, baby. I’ll meet you in my room.”
Taking a seat, once again, in her favorite place, Martina waited for the tea to be made. In the background, she could hear Leopold rummaging around in the kitchen. Closing her eyes and taking a deep breath Martina thought about everything and anything that pertained to her life. All that she’d ever seen, experienced, witnessed, and felt. Things came together like a kaleidoscope of happenstances—images bounced back and forth off of each other. None clear, but none too vague either. Bit and pieces of recollections, along with images of could be’s and should be’s, all the nuances of life.
Rocking back and forth unconsciously in the chair, Martina heard someone call her name. She parted her eyes to look around but no one was there.
Hmm, I must be hearing things now.
Leopold was still fiddling in the kitchen.
Martina closed her eyes again, and swayed in her chair.
“Martina, love, I’m calling you.” Came a soft male voice. One that she recognized, but was afraid to admit she did.
“Yes, baby, I’m calling you. Come on. We have to go.”
Martina opened her eyes, and clear as day, he was there.
“Martin!” she said, awestricken.
“The Dali Lama?”
Jonny laughed heartedly. You never change, do you?
“Nope.” He hadn’t aged a day. Not a second. He looked exactly the same as she remembered him. Every hair, every wrinkle, every pore. Even the clothes he wore. “Jonathan, what are you doing here?”
“Well, I’ll be damned, I’m not Martin anymore?”
This time, Martina laughed. Shaking her head, she started again, “Of course, of course you are. But-”
“But what? Like I said, we have to go.”
Jonny extended his hand. “Come on, silly.” Martina reached for him. When she did, she noticed her arm. They were no longer wrinkled and old. They were young. Again. “Well, what are you waiting for? It’s time to go.”
“Yeah- yeah- right. Okay, let’s go.” Getting up from her chair, Martina trotted to her husband, and pulled him to her chest. She hugged him so tight that she felt as though she was going to melt into him. “OH! I missed you!”
“I did too, my love. No more time to waste, let’s get going.”
“Where are we going?”
“Home, silly.” Extending his hand, the light behind him morphed into the log cabin of their childhood.
Martina smiled large. “Home indeed.” Following her husband, she walked enthusiastically to the log cabin.
“Okay, grammz! Tea is all done. I made you a cup.” Leopold, then looked up and noticed the cup that Martina had in her hand. “Oh. I made you a fresh cup.” He said as he giggled. “Here, grandma, let me take that from you.”
“Grammz, the cup. Pass it to me.” Leopold walked closer to her. No response still. “Grammz?”
The silence became deafening. Leopold slowly walked to stand in front of his grandmother. “Grammz?”
Martina’s face was pale, her skin clammy, but the smile on her face spoke to the felicity with which she passed. Placing the cup on the windowsill, and kneeling besides his grandmother, Leopold wept.
Martina looked back, towards the scene she was leaving behind. Leopold crouched on the floor next to her body. Her heart fluttered. “Martin, I can’t. Look he’s in pain.”
“He’ll be fine, baby. Plus, one day, he’ll be here with us. At our family log cabin.”
Turing back to look at her husband, Martina grinned again. “Yeah. Our family log cabin.”
Martina Foxworthy only knew one thing for sure in her life ... the Log Cabin. It was her family's tradition to visit the Log Cabin every year, and every new year was a repeat of the last. Nothing ever changed at the Cabin, Martina's family liked it that way. But Martina, not so much. One day, when a fly ball comes out of nowhere and crashes through her bedroom window, Martina realizes that there is a lot more to life; the Log Cabin was just the thread that kept it together.