SoHumBorn Sunday:The Ride (Parts 6&7)
In December 2008, a Southern Humboldt blogger began posting fictional tales of the marijuana culture. Some people were appalled. Most were enthralled. For three months her stories gripped the online community and then, abruptly, she was gone. Even though SoHumBorn pulled her blog, for months her stories were available in the cached version but eventually they, too, were swallowed into the dark abyss. Recently she gave me permission to revive them. I’ll be doing one each Sunday for awhile.
This is the last story. When it is finished, I will have republished all her previous works. Next Sunday I believe will be the end. You can read parts 1-3 here. Parts 4 &5 here
The job had turned out beautifully. The glass tiles forming the intricate pattern of interwoven circles that complete the mandala, turning the tub and shower into a visual experience not unlike being inside a rolling wave in a turquoise sea.
He was tired, but satisfied and proud too. His work in the bathroom & kitchen of the large home had transformed those rooms into works of art.
Pulling down the drive into his parking area he sees that he is the first one home today and decides to enjoy the last of the late fall day on the deck. The view down the valley is a blur of greens and tans as the land sheds her summer brown and the light green grasses, brought back by the rains of fall, slide up like velvet. He parks the truck and stows his tools in the shed before he grabs his thermos & walks though the unlocked front door. Dropping his jacket on the chair nearest the door he picks up the little glass pipe from the coffee table & packs it with a fresh bud from the pretty jar on the tray beside it. Pipe and thermos in hand he strolls through the house bending to pick up his guitar as he passes the couch. He heads out to the back deck to enjoy the last rays of sun before the long wet winter ahead.
Sitting in the old Adirondack chair facing down the valley. He puts the pipe to his mouth and inhales deeply while his right hand brings the flame to the bowl in slow little circles first toasting, then evenly burning the little pieces of bud. He holds the deep lungful of smoke, his eyes little slits while he waits for that first little slide into relaxation. When he feels it he lets the smoke out & watches is roll and curl away pulled down the valley by the fall breeze.
He picks up the guitar and begins absently strumming it before letting his fingers and deep baritone join in an old Irish love song his voice filling the valley below.
“She wears my ring to show the world
That she belongs to me
She wears my ring to tell the world
She’s mine eternally”
Pulling in she sees his truck & knowing he’s home brings a smile to her lips & eyes. She parks and gets out of the little car, & as she does she hears him. His voice is rich & wraps itself around her as the words open her heart, filling it with warmth, an old love is renewed afresh again.
She takes the little path that circles the house, her feet finding the mosaic stone path that they had lain with their own hands, she approaches the steps.
She sees him, he is sitting on the back deck. Head back, eyes closed, he’s singing, the sunlight turning his coffee colored curls into a shining cap.
He opens his eyes and smiles at her. A little piece of her heart aches when he stops singing.
“Hey Love, how was the walk?” She climbs the four steps and kisses him before he can rise.
“It was beautiful. Karen met me at the forks and we did four miles.” She plants herself in the chair beside him.
“We saw a coyote, but he took off before I got my camera turned on.” She picks up his thermos and helps herself to the coffee.
“How’d the job turn out?” Setting the guitar aside he picks up the pipe and fingers the smooth glass.
“I think it’s the best thing I’ve ever done.”
“Wow, I can’t wait to see it!” He laughs and takes a little hit from the pipe.
“Oh no, you stay far away from there. He says grinning.
“What?” Her surprise at his answer quickly pops out. He extends his arm holding out the pipe, she waves off his offer. He smiles.
“I know you. You see that place and I’m going to end up with two years worth of projects.” Together they laugh as he leans forward for another kiss.
He stands up and walks to the deck rail.
“Where’s the brat?” Laying the pipe on the rail he turns back smiling. She rises and walks over sliding her hands around his waist she leans back and looks up into his smiling eyes.
“She and Kaitlin showed up when I was leaving. They were grabbing some clean clothes so she could spend another night down there. I swear those two have become Siamese twins.”
He pulls her closer pressing the length of their two bodies together.
“So then, were alone..” The words are muffled by her skin as he trails his mouth over her neck and ear. The sun on her skin, his lips on her neck, she feels a familiar tug low in her gut.
The ringing phone drags a groan out of him.
“Don’t answer that” He says tightening his grip. She peels away and smiles over her shoulder as she heads for the house saying.
“Don’t worry love, we’ve got all day.” He grins back and leans on the rail, watching her as she heads through the sliding glass doors and picks up the phone.
She smiles as she brings the phone out to him. He can see the excited look in her eyes.
“It’s J.D.” He smiles back at her and lifts his eyebrows as he takes the phone.
“Hey man, yeah… can do. Come on up.”
“Drought’s over Baby!” He sets the phone down and pulls her in for a quick kiss.
“J.D.’s guy will take all of ‘em.” She squeezes both his hands.
“Oh thank God, if I have to hear about that car one more time I think I’ll choke her.” He laughs loud and long as relieved as she is at the thought.
He heads off to retrieve the pounds, and she heads inside. She rinses out the thermos and opens the fridge.
With yogurt in hand she heads to the table and opens yesterdays paper. She reads stories far removed from her life and contemplates her place in the world, while the bright sunny peach and the tart bite of the yogurt slide around her mouth in a dance of flavors.
She hears the door open and close.
“Babe?” He calls out from the living room.
“Coming.” She leaves the table and walks to the living room, still holding her yogurt in one hand spoon in the other.
He’s holding two large open bags, a look of confusion on his handsome face.
“Did you take some of these?” She tilts her head and sets the yogurt on a side table.
“No.” He dumps both back out on the floor and begins counting.
“Are you sure?” She walks over to the pile.
“Are you kidding”? Together they count and recount.
“There are eight missing.”
“Eight.” They look at each other a feeling of dread welling up.
“No one would just steal eight.”
“She was going to Kaitlin’s?” He asks heading for the phone.
“Yeah, they said they were spending the night there.” He picks up the phone and dials.
“Her cell’s turned off what’s Kaitlin’s number?” She jobs back to the kitchen table.
“I don’t know her cell, but I have her Mom’s number.” He hands her the phone.
She can see his heart pounding. Actually see it bumping his chest like an animal wanting out. Her mouth is suddenly dry as the horrible possibilities tumble through her. Each one striking a blow as it hits her mind, her gut, her heart.
She dials with shaking hands.
“Hello Anne, hey are the girls there? No… no they’re not. They told me they were staying at your house. Uh huh… Anne can you come over? Yeah, we need to talk in person.”
She hangs up the phone as tears begin rolling down her cheeks.