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Old Baby Ruth

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My old 1998 baby, Ruth, knew we were home. She plopped herself down in that driveway and spluttered a content sigh of relief; the cracked concrete has been worn to her skinny tires. This time, it was my turn to sigh, but not a sigh of relief. A sigh of dread. This house may be good for my Ruth, but it sure wasn't good for me.
CREAAKK! I shoved the broken door of my car away from me so I can haul my body up and onto a particularly large pothole. Closing my eyes, I thought, "Please, baby, please don't let your door fall off," for the millionth time. "I got to get that thing fixed!" Even a toddler could tell that was a flat out lie, but it was a good thought to hold on to and keep close in Ruth’s glove compartment for another time.
Inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale. "I can do this. I can do this." I took a step, and I fell flat on my surprised face. “Ow!” I yelped into the ghost town I once called home. I laid there for a good couple minutes. Gravel pierced my face and my leg was twisted in a strange direction, but anything was better than that front door. Gradually, I placed my red hands in front of me and heaved my body up. My damaged hands massaged the leg, trying to make the burning sensation that inhabited it hibernate. Seeing that didn’t work, I limped up the narrow driveway with rocks in my hair and pebbles dotting my clothes. It isn’t like there is anyone here to notice me in such a state.
Inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale. This seemingly short walk was torture. Trail of Tears was a stroll in the park compared to the walk through the jungle of weeds and rubble. “The gate!” I cried out loud, this time rushing toward it to push open the rotting wood. More stalling time and maybe Ruth will let me leave before I go in. I could stall enough before the memories come flooding into me destroying the cobwebs and dust that have deliberately been caked over them.
I meandered around the perimeter of the fenced in area. “I crashed my bike on this spot; you can still see the dent.” I laughed at myself. These were happy times. Times before my mother and father decided to split up, ruining the family and destroying my life…
The insipid visit was getting on my bad side, so I finally strode to the front of the house and peek inside. Once more around, then through the back gate and onto the main walkway I go. I looked up at the looming tower of doom. It had Victorian style flawlessness, mixed with hasty modern additions added to the top and sides. “That is one ugly house!” I exclaimed to myself. Ok, no more stalling. Here we go.
One step. Two steps. Three steps. Four. Five. Six. Suddenly, I found myself at the bottom of the trio of stairs that led up to the massive porch. A peculiar note was stuck haphazardly on the door. Curiosity getting the better of me, I raced to read it. CONDEMMED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE. A slow but sure smile crept onto my face and grew into a grin as big as Texas. I’m free! I’ve been free for years and knew nothing of the sort! I jumped from the porch and hit the ground with a boom. I skipped towards Ruth with the glee of the world floating off my shoulders. To make matters better, Ruth was hopping in her wheels when she noticed my blissful attitude. She started up right away and skidded out of the driveway, satisfied that I finally made the visit to my house. Her house. And finally, my old baby Ruth was happy with me for the first time in years.




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