A Lonely Woman's Tale

December 18, 2008
By Erica Green, Marion, IL

It was a day no one will ever forget. The day was May 5, 2008 and a storm had just begun slowly progressing. Raindrops had begun to fall with a rhythmic thud as they smacked and hopped off the gravel. There was a faint off balance feeling in the atmosphere as the creatures began skittering to their various hiding places. Off in a distance through the rolling cotton field sat Idene Maple. Many ask, “Who is Idene Maple.” Some would reply, “a lonely widow,” others, “a woman of mystery.” The life of this woman was exactly that. The sun beaten skin with misplaced freckles and red creased lips were her prominent features. Fingers as long as the hoe’s themselves and tiny just like they had always been.
Idene sat and gazed out into the cloud and stormy evening. “It’s going to be a long day,” she said, “a very long day.” She watched the beginning of what seemed to be lost thunderclouds drift towards the neighboring town. She heard a distant howl and the Pitter-Patter of dropping rain. Idene looked to the west, and saw a brownish-black dog walk up and lay on her porch. “Phepo,” she shouted, “Where have you been, you old ghost. Leaving an old woman like that.” Now a days it took a while for Idene’s thoughts to gather but she had gotten use to the occasional lost of thoughts. She slid forward out of the weather beaten rocking chair and slowly walked over to the threshold of her door. This house told tales, and showed the reality of life. Irene walked into her kitchen to put on her usual pot of tea.
If she couldn’t remember anything else, she knew tea always went on before supper. She reached into the brown cabinets with bronzed handles for her favorite icy blue teacup. Her index finger grazed the handle of a nearby muddy brown cup. She just stopped and starred, “that cup….that cup, what is it about that cup.” She shook off the thoughts and irritating questions and walked back over to the kettle. It began to hum the whistle a low sharp sound. A sound like that of a screeching animal. She began thoughtlessly pouring the tea. The steam rose up with an angered sizzle and then disappeared into nothing. “Life, oh life, my lonely traveling partner,” she stated. She sauntered over to the sugar bowl and began counting spoonful after spoonful of sugar. “One, two, three, I wonder how those in town are doing.” She looked down and muttered, “oh dear, now that looks a lil’ to sweet for my taste.” Eventually, after getting the tea just right she went and settled on the couch to watch the news. While there she saw familiar faces and people screaming, “This is the worst storm yet,” Idene got up a turned the television off, she looked around the empty house and felt a pang of sadness.
Idene decided, “I think I’ll go in town, today.” She walked to the key rack and yanked them down. There was an old rusted pickup truck out back under the shed. She pulled her sweater close around her neck and got into the truck. Phepo jumped into the passenger side like he always did when he felt like having a good ol’ ride. So, she put the key into the ignition and turned only to hear as sound like a cough. She turned it again to hear the engine jump as soon as it started up. “There you go old time,” she said, “Don’t you give up on me yet.” She began to drive fearlessly in the darkened dusk thunderstorm. It took her almost an hour to drive on a thirty minute highway stretch. She pulled up to Steve’s Grocery Store and got out. Idene gazed around town to see if anything out of the ordinary was happening. Idene flinched, like always their distrustful hypercritical eyes stared back. She quickly ran into the store and purchased her basic necessities: flour, sugar, toiletry items, toothpaste, and little bag of food for Phepo. Idene bought them and paced over to Ruby’s cafĂ©. While sliding into the third seat in the musty smelling corner she grabbed a menu. The menu had started coming apart from passing through years of hands. She ordered spaghetti with an ice tea from the waitress with a pokey-dotted dress. Eventually, the waitress brought over the steaming hot food. She slowly ate it, and poured more sugar into the tea. When most of her food was gone she quickly paid and left. She grabbed her bags, a roll and walked over to the truck for the raindrops had finally lessened in size. When she looked at the truck there were egg shells and revolting markings on the truck. Phepo began to bark protectively from within the truck.
Idene just calmly opened the door and put her groceries on the passenger and closed the door. “Hush, little one, hush now,” she whispered. She gazed around into the frozen faces of the people. Fearlessly meeting every eyeball she could. The town’s people waited to hear what the now drenched old lady had to say but out of no where they heard a shout. “You old witch, go back home.” Before she knew it people began to join in then more. They were all screaming the same old chilling chant. The old widowed woman just looked around calmly. When Idene thought there was silence she lifted up her chin and with all the voice she had that was saved up from years of silence and loneliness. She replied,” So you think I am a witch I live alone because I must. I lost my sons, my daughter, and my husband in the same day. How dare you look at me as if you are superior. This day you too are worth nothing but dirt and shall suffer for every wicked thing you’ve done and you will forever whisper the name of Idene Maple on your lips.” She walked to the driver’s side and got in her little old rusted pickup truck and drove away without looking back. As she drove she thought about. The day she became a lonely woman, one without hope and life.
She had gone out with her family on a supposedly beautiful evening. She had sat on the bank watching her family in a boat Herald had just built. He was so proud of it that he put all the kids in it and thought to teach them how to fish. Suddenly a storm rolled in and they never made it back in to the shore where Idene waited. On her way home, Idene slowed the pickup truck and veered of onto a familiar path. The path was now trapped by weeds and hidden by lush trees. She drove on tears streaming down her still sun beaten face.
She stepped out of her truck and walked up onto the shore. “This is where it all happens, that day I lost the ones I love, the day I became lonely,” Idene said. She looked out at the large body of brown muddy water. It had been forty-four years ago that she had a family. Her legs got numb and felt jelly-like and she fell. All she could do was lay there and think, but she knew something had to be done.
She crawled back to the truck, while there even more tears began to burst forth and all the pain and hurt from over the years began to pour out. Phepo ran over to her with head bowed like the day Herald had brought him home. She looked at him and stared. Eventually, she cried so much that she drifted off to sleep. Idene remembered exactly why that muddy brown cup had always been a reminder, yet she never threw it away. Idene now knew why that shoebox rested under her bed with a pink ribbon, baseball mitten, and a pirate eye patch in it. Idene was now content to know she never lost the thoughts of her dead ones. So, she slept in blackness which welcomed her, and the pain eased, will she ever wakeup and is this end. From that day forward no one knew what happened to the witch, lonely old woman, Idene Maple. Some even say they catch a glimpse of brownish-black fur of the dog she called Phepo, but just like she told the town that day. Her name forever rolled of the lips of the towns people.

The author's comments:
I enjoy writing because it allows me to express myself. Its what I love

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