Umber (19.43 — Vera’s Story)

April 24, 2012 § 2 Comments

One Saturday in June, just few weeks after I had graduated from  high school, Kate, Alfred and I joined Myrna at the farm in Elm Creek.  Uncle Delbert and Ervin were there, along with my grandparents.  Delbert had a camera.  He told us to stand out in the yard so he could take a family portrait. Myrna put on her Easter hat.  Grandma told Ervin to go find his shoes.  Papa brought the horse, Buttons, around to the side of the house and sat astride her like Alexander the Great.  They all teased him, and he laughed out loud, a big, booming, unfamiliar sound that came close to breaking my heart.  They asked me what I was going to do now that I was out of school.  Grandma wanted to talk to me about nursing.  My insides were churning.   I held Kate and Myrna’s hands as we posed for the photograph.  I thought about the bag, containing my clothes and a tintype of my parents, that I had hidden in the barn, and about the letter I had left on the dresser upstairs, in the bedroom I had once shared with my sisters.  When they all went back in the house I made some excuse for staying outside, and walked to the barn to retrieve my suitcase.  Before they had time to wonder why I was still outside, I had reached the end of the long gravel road that led to the highway, where I could see Leroy in his Ford, waiting for me.

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