Yates Street

Fiction By Ariel // 3/21/2010

 

            The town is Chestnutgrove; a small town with a large heart. A traveler passing through our fair town will cross a bridge. If he is very observant he will notice the low muddy river that winds through the brush beneath it. The towering trees on the far bank, lifting their leafy arms toward Heaven, are a stark contrast to the dry, slate rock hill that stands opposite them like an angry giant, his face void of expression.

            The roadways are busy, but if the traveler has an adventurous spirit, he will turn left onto a quiet avenue. This is Yates Street and on Yates Street, in a low green house, there lives a man. This man is Ebenezer Cliesbotham, well known in some circles; foreign to others. The said man is a prolific author and it has recently become his habit, on warm summer days, to don a stained cap and take himself and his pen out to watch the happenings of Yates Street.

***

            The day is new and fresh; the cherry trees that line Yates Street are filled with blooms; the bees buzz happily among the fragrant petals. Birds sing happily in the budding saplings that stand guard on edges of the lane. The sun has just sailed over the top of the tree line leaving a pink mist in its churning wake. Mr. Cliesbotham sits with his tea in hand and a huge coat over his shoulders watching Yates Street. A family walks slowly down the blossom lined street; their breath making clouds in the cool morning air. A huge dog gallops far ahead of them, barking loudly at a chattering squirrel. Someone laughs and the sound carries wonderful on the crisp morning breeze.

            Our author notices none of these things however; his gaze follows only the smallest of the company: the Young One, a small lad with honey colored hair that gleams in the early morning light. His short legs must work to carry his bundled top half and he grips the leash of another massive pup desperately; his boots make soft thumping sounds on Yates Street. He struggles to move faster; his thick parka rustling with his movements. A loose stone moves under his tiny shoe; with a loud wail and a flailing of his mittened hands Young One falls to his knees.

            The peaceful spring breeze carries the child’s wails to Mr. Cliebotham’s ears. He watches for a moment more as the child’s mother runs to his side and gathers him to her, whispering condolences in the Young One’s ear. Our author stands to his feet; Yates Street has been more than entertaining this spring morning and he has a feeling the housekeeper will need to deliver some cookies later.

***

            The summer sun beats on Yates Street; the heat waves bounce off the black pavement. A hawk wheels on a thermal, his eyes searching for prey to fall upon. Our author stands at the end of his driveway gazing off toward the end of the tree covered lane. The birds twitter in the thick bows over his head. A woman approaches, leading her three beagles. Hattie is a skinny woman with freckled, leathery skin testimony to her daily walks up and down the burning streets. Her wild red hair shines in the bright light like one of her prized tomatoes. Her two beagles plod slowly by her side while the third jumps wildly around her legs. She stops abruptly next to Mr. Cliesbotham a wild grin on her haggard face.

            “Hiya, Eb! Paisley, come!” She jerks the younger dog away from our friend’s shoes. “I don’t know what’s in to them dogs these days. My Sarah didn’t want to go for her walk this morning, but I made her! I made her! Yes I did…didn’t I girl?” She leans down to rub the dog’s graying head, her lips pursed. A car passes by and she jerks back on the second dog’s leash. “Gully! Heel!” she screeches at the confused pup. “Stupid dogs don’t know what’s good for ‘em. Your Heirlooms sprouted yet? Mine haven’t even begun pushing up. You know how stubborn those things is.” She cackles hysterically. “Nice talkin’ to ya, Eb.” Mr. Cliesbotham shakes his head as the crazy old woman and moves back toward the house; his mouth not having opened once.

***

            The red and gold leaves are gathered in deep piles on every lawn. The cars look like ships speeding though oceans of rustling leaves; this is fall on Yates Street. Ebenezer Cliesbotham is standing knee deep in leaves watching the ravens circling around the pecan trees. The dying sun turns the falling leaves into tiny chariots of fire.

            Our author pauses a moment to watch the latest activity of Yates Street; a teenage girl jogs briskly through the cooling air. Her messy hair sticks to the side of her face as she tries to toss it out of her vision. She slows to a walk as she passes the author and waves cheerfully. Smiling Eyes is a regular on the street; her whistle always bringing a smile to Mr. Cliesbotham’s lips. Once he caught a glimpse of her dancing wildly in a circle and laughed uproariously for an entire day. As she passes him, her smile widens and she glances back up at the sky. The ravens continue their whirling in the autumn wind, looking like winged demons. Smiling Eyes gestures up at them and shouts, “Quoth the raven nevermore…”. The writer laughs at her antics and continues with his raking.

***

            The grass is dead now around Yates Street - yellow and dry; winter has taken control of the happy valley. The trees are cold and barren now; lifting dripping fingers in exhortation to the sky. Not even a pile of golden leaves rests at their roots as a testament to their former glory. Geese fly overhead, their honking reverberating through the heavy air. Ebenezer Cliesbotham stands at his window, notebook in hand, watching the grey clouds scud across the leaden sky.

            He turns his gaze to the cold pavement; a man walks slowly down the street; old and bent over. Our author remembers when he first came to the street. He was young and strong; full of Russian vigor. Now he walks slowly with the appearance of an old, old man. His pants are worn and faded; his shoes slashed at the tops to allow his great feet to escape their confines; his grey hair is dirty and slovenly. He is a shadow of the man he used to be. He never stops, but walks all day long; the look of a lost child on his once ruddy features. The people that pass him feel something like pity stir in their souls when they look into his sad eyes.

***

            Yates Street, in winter, is like the Russian: a shadow of what it once was; in autumn, it is like Smiling Eyes: full of color and mystery; in summer, it is like the Hattie: busy and always moving; in spring, it is like the Young One, fresh and new, but most of all it is like Ebenezer Cliesbotham…always there.

            So when you go to Chestnutgrove, the small town with the large heart, don’t forget to drive down Yates Street. You may see them all there, going about their normal business and who knows, you may find yourself in one of our author’s stories by and by.

Comments

That was interesting-I

That was interesting-I enjoyed it!

 

E | Sun, 03/21/2010

"You were not meant to fit into a shallow box built by someone else." -J. Raymond

That was remarkable. I loved

That was remarkable. I loved the ending....about ending up in someone elses story. I always wondered what would happen if someone put me in a book lol. Beautiful. Two thumbs!

Clare | Sun, 03/21/2010

I loved it! Reading it made

I loved it! Reading it made me fell like I was drinking hot chocolate by a hearth 

Keri | Sat, 03/27/2010

A very old-timey,

A very old-timey, curl-up-and-read-with-hot-chocolate-and-a-fire type story. I like it a lot!

Heather | Mon, 04/05/2010

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
And now our hearts will beat in time/You say I am yours and you are mine...
Michelle Tumes, "There Goes My Love"

:)

Thanks guys!

I guess I should have said that all these people are real. My alter ego is Ebenezer Cliesbotham and I decided to write about some of the people that live on our street. Of course if helped that it was a school assignment, but who cares about that right? lol So yeah, anyway, all of it is true except for Eb and yes, I did dance down to the end of our street once...I will never do it again :P

Ariel | Wed, 04/07/2010

*****************************************
"To produce a mighty book, you must choose a mighty theme. No great and enduring volume can ever be written on the flea, though many there be that have tried it." -- Herman Melville

I LOVED this. Nuff said.

I LOVED this. Nuff said.

LoriAnn | Fri, 04/16/2010