My drawings are the only true me at this point. There are not many memories left in my damaged brain. The images come in bursts that seem to tell a story. Then I get rivers of words. I hope they are the truth. Otherwise, I should be dead – as dead as they thought I was when they found me. When the pictures come to me, I draw them, show them to the deputy and tell him the story the best I can. We are in a hurry as there is still a woman missing.
I turn away from the taxi, and a shot of warm wind passes through my hair. I wrestle with getting the five dollar bill back into my wallet. But now, I am quite sure that I have made a grand miscalculation. Being in this place is not going to help anything. Leaving New York was inevitable, but the decision to stay with Great Aunt Edna whom I have never even met, is flawed. Still here I am, walking up the drive to this funny old farm. Huge wisteria limbs are weeping over the porch roof. Clay pots covered in green mold are piled haphazardly high in a glass garden house and a cement- sculpted head of a man is wrapped in ivy vines guarding the path. A long rusted chain hangs from the gutter. A crow sits in a tree.
I need air. The humidity is killing me. My mouth is drained of moisture like my cellphone is drained of juice. I walk up the rotted steps and knock.
There is no answer. But I am quite certain that I hear a sound. So I knock again, but not too loudly as I don’t want to startle anyone. Nothing. I decide to walk around back to the back kitchen door. I try to maneuver my suitcase with wheels, but the flagstones are too uneven. So I pick it up and proceed to squash a worm under my shoe. Not a good omen.
The sun ray cracks me in the eye. I hear noises, voices coming from somewhere. Then I remember, Aunt Edna’s Riverbend Farm. I am tucked away in a safely sheeted bed in her house. It’s in the back of the home, downstairs. I went to bed early and had no nightmares.
But now I smell banana nut bread and coffee. Voices are mumbling and then suddenly a SCREAM! “She’s crazy and she has done this before!!”
A door slams! I freeze in place and hold my breath.
I am wide awake now, starving, but not wanting to move. A scratching sound starts at the window. There on a branch lands a very large crow. He tilts his head back and forth as he looks straight at me. The sound of a car backing out of the gravel driveway barely gives him pause. And he does not take his eyes off of me. There’s a rap at my door “Maggie dear, why don’t you come and have something to eat?” It sounds like a good idea.
Everyone must rub the same place on the top of the bronze fox statue, as the crown of his head is decidedly a shiny gold under my fingertips. There are no men in canoes today. Below the bridge the rapids look smaller and calmer.
The approaching brown Oldsmobile however, does not. I move safely to the curb as my great aunt quickly pulls over to pick me up. “Get in dear.” Aunt Edna is seated on her pillow and waving me to enter.
“Gertie’s relatives don’t seem to be the least bit concerned that she is gone. But I got to thinking about that green tape we keep seeing in the woods. I want to go speak with an old neighbor of mine.” She adjusts her mirror.
I am starving and thirsty. I feel like I’ve lived a whole lifetime in these past three days. And I continue to be amazed at the energy and life-force of my ninety year old great aunt. We swerve back into traffic. She pushes a brown paper bag with a sandwich and an apple to me and points to a thermos on the floor.