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On My Way to the Promised Land

Story ID:7729
Written by:Richard Laurent. Provencher (bio, contact, other stories)
Story type:Story
Location:Truro NS Canada
Person:Richard L. Provencher
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On My Way to the Promised Land

Within a back drop of sultry sky my wife and I saw this lady approach. Her bag of content almost scraping the sidewalk; her back arched from years of strain. A bonnet hid her lined features.

A monologue of words tumbled from her lips, as if carrying on a conversation with several people at the same time.

Hello, I said, my cheerful smile sensing her lonesomeness.

Well, she said, and planted both feet in a boxerís stance, sizing me up as she pondered her continued response. Just back from Noel she said, a little town beside the Bay; houses not as large as those at Maitland nearby. And oh, Christmas lights highlighted very large Ship-Captainís Homes, the type my grandfather used to live in.

And she continued---thatís why my sister invited me to the farm for Christmas. I mean, if it wasnít for me setting up those lights I donít know what kind of Christmas we would have. You know, everyone in the country wants to put on a cheerful face on things. Wasnít so long ago the Big storm kicked out the power and only darkness then.

And---the insurance people wrote and said we know you have a new woodstove; time to inspect. Besides, that generator, etc--etc.

Sunken eyes, nostril flaring, prepared for an epithet of hostility. She awaited an argument similar to those she fluttered through each day, as she reached for unspent portions of cigarette in the gutter. The grossness of homeless life covered her like a blanket.

Did you ever pretend you were a beautiful butterfly? I asked. Then the three of us sat on the curb and began a long conversation.

© Richard L. Provencher