The prompt for the Manomet Writers’ Group this month was “those who stayed behind.” I started on a story about space travel and abandoned that. There was another about time travel which just didn’t work out. Then there was this one. Everyone collects stuff at one time or another in their lives, and we all have someone we love or are loved by someone. It’s an easy story to related to.
Unfortunately, I could not attend the writers’ group this month so you get this one untested. Enjoy.
I’m meeting Sarah after work. She parks her car in the lot up by the historic Jenny Grist Mill. Why she chooses to park there instead of at the Inn where she works is something of a mystery to me. Maybe she thinks she needs the exercise.
Maybe the exercise is another reason I find her so attractive. So when I first started meeting her, I chose to do a bit of my own walking. I start from the pergola entrance of Brewster Gardens which might seem a bit over the top. I have a lot of catching up to do. Besides, once you get started on something like this it escalates—takes on a life of its own.
I make a point to study the stainless steel sculpture as I enter the gardens. It probably has a plaque explaining some mundane reason why it was erected, but I‘ve never read it. For me, it’s enough that it seems to represent all the tortured souls who died in every horror flick ever made.
Art is about interpretation.
Someday, Sarah and I might just tie the knot. If that eventuality comes to pass, there are a couple of photo ops at Brewster Gardens I would take advantage of. There’s the pergola at the entry of course. And then there’s the wonderful foot bridge spanning the Town Brook. I can’t remember ever walking over it without pausing at its apex to look for herring swimming in the waters below. From mid-April to sometime in May, they’re just dying to reach the pond beyond the Jenny Grist Mill where they go to lay their eggs. The indians taught the pilgrims to scoop the herring from the waterway and use them for fertilizer. Nowadays, the act is illegal.
Making something illegal is our government’s way of telling us to be discreet.
The walk from Brewster Gardens to the Jenny Grist Mill takes place on a paved footpath that passes under the roadways leading south and west from the center of Plymouth. At night it is lit by lamp-posts, yet still offers pedestrians the opportunity to have a contemplative walk—away from motorized traffic.
I like to think of Sarah on these walks. She is a beauty. It’s a shame she wears her long dark hair in a ponytail all the time, but it’s probably a requirement of her job. When I first started meeting Sarah after work, I remember being attracted to her smile. She turned to hear something someone was saying to her as she exited the inn; when she continued out the door, she had a wonderful smile on her face that I can still picture.
The memory makes me light on my feet and I do that little shuffle-step Dorothy did, arm-in-arm with Scarecrow and Tin-man as they declare where it is they’re off to.
Her mere presence brightens my day and makes me happy to be alive. I long to hold her in my arms, look into her eyes or maybe nuzzle her neck and whisper little loving thoughts.
At the mill I stop in the shadows provided by an early sunset and only have to wait a minute or two. Sarah’s timing is impeccable as always and I fall in behind her as we go out to where her car is parked.
As she fobs her lock and opens the car door, I loop a very large zip-tie over her head and cinch it tight around her neck. Her scream comes off as little more than a gurgle and she swoons into my arms. I whisper in her ear how beautiful she is and she flutters her eyelashes.
When she finally relaxes, I take it as a sign she’s comfortable in my loving embrace so I pull her closer to kiss her neck. It amazes me how peaceful she looks cradled in my arms and I brush the hair from her face to enjoy the fullness of her radiant beauty.
The plan for this evening was to cross the upper pond and follow the Town Brook away from the mill. Carrying her like a bride over the threshold, I pause at the center of the footbridge and set her down. The smooth oblong stone, I collected only days earlier, fits snugly under her coat and I zip her back up. She wears the added weight well. I scoop her up once more, give her a peck on the forehead, heave her over the rail opposite last month’s Sarah and drop her into the water below.
Collecting Sarahs has become quite a hobby; once you get started on something like this it escalates—takes on a life of its own. For those who stayed behind there is some regret I could not collect them as well. But I must move on. You can only fit so many Sarahs in one pond.