Life

Fiction By Mairead // 12/9/2010

      It had been freezing that whole week. Ohio set records in February for the most snow. We were tight on money, my family and me. Luckily my dad had just gotten a semi-stable position but who knew for how long it would last. I was very busy in those weeks looking for work, of any kind really. Then I found it. The perfect position. One snowy and blustery day. But you know how life is with it's twists and turns, ups and downs; unpredictable. 

     I have gone out for the newspaper for as long as I can remember. Well, it barely ever holds anything promising and while I was walking to get that weeks latest, I asked myself why I even bothered.

     Digging where there was a lump at the top of the driveway with a booted foot, I found the newspaper for that week. Picking up the frozen stiff paper, I brushed the snow off of it with cold and red fingers, and smirked at the large picture. 

     My neighbor was on the front page again. He was an amazing tennis player for the nearest High-school. I was almost really sick of seeing his accomplishments. I looked up quickly at their huge spacious house across from our humble log cabin and grunted.

     A mansion of anyone's dreams, sticking out in a weird way from all of the country cottages around it. Loftily it sat on it's hill, with a grim smile at the knowledge of it's magnificence. I wondered if it's people were affected in some of the same ways, but shrugged and turned to head back up the icy drive.

     As I got back to the house with nose red and cheeks tingling, I opened the paper quickly and turned to the jobs section. Suddenly, as if by an unseen hand, my eyes found a small ad hidden in among the rest. It simply read: "Part-time barn help. Sharon township." Smiling, I ripped the ad and phone number out and put it on my book shelf. I was satisfied. Perfect. Exactly what I'd  been wanting. 

     A week went by somehow without my calling that number. But I finally got a grip and forced myself to pound through the doubts in my brain, picked up the large, outdated phone, and heard the buzzing noise on the other end. Quickly I typed the number. 

     The ringing on the other line made my breath quicken and I felt uneasy. Part of me wished no one would pick up so that I could just leave a message, but the other part of me knew it would be easiest if I talked directly to the employer. A voice answered in a somewhat rough hello. I swallowed and told myself to sound like I knew what I was talking about.

     "Hello, I'm calling in regards to the position you had posted in the Medina Gazette about needing barn help?"

     "Okay," the woman answered. "How old are you?"

     "17." I hoped she didn't ask that because my voice sounded like a ten year old over the phone. Oh well. 

     "Well, let me tell you, I would need someone every day all through summer and fall, with good horse experience and willingness to work. Someone who would work hard and honestly."

     Here I could help her a little. "I took riding lessons a couple years ago. I love horses and have worked at a boarding farm where there were at least twenty stalls. I cleaned stalls and fed and watered the horses. Plus bathing and grooming. I exercised them as well."

     "Hmm." She sounded satisfied. "Well, when can you come for an interview?"

     "When is most convenient for you?" I laughed on the inside. I was sounding so sophisticated. 

     "How about Tuesday at 4:00?"

     I looked at the horse calendar hanging next to the phone. "That's perfect. Thank you so much for your time."

     "Yep. I'll see you then."

     Hanging up the phone I sighed and felt like I had to start breathing extra. I had done it. Handled it. I had an interview. 

     

     Tuesday came quicker than I could have expected. It was still freezing weather. I wore my big winter coat and old jeans. Slipping on my boots I ran out of the house and jumped into dad's pick up truck.

     He looked over at me from underneath his bushy eyebrows and beard. His eyes were twinkling. "You ready."

     I looked somewhat annoyed but nodded. "Yeah." 

     The drive there was quiet as it usually was when Dad took you anywhere, but it was a comfortable quiet, and you knew he liked it that way. 

     I tied my hair back in a loose ponytail, and rubbed my cold legs. Looking out into the billowing snow I put my hands together and simply said to myself, be you and show her that you know what you want, but mostly that you are good at what she's wanting from you. 

     Five different times our tires began to skid and slid on the road and I settled against Dad's shoulder as the truck groaned and swayed. I knew he could handle it, but the snow was coming down really heavy and I could tell he was concentrating hard on his driving. I noticed with a quick glance that there was at least two feet already on the ground, and with another that his jaw was clenched and his brows were drawn. 

     I stretched and turned the radio up so that I could hear it over the wind's howl. I leant my head against the headrest and sang along softly. "Cowboy take me away, fly this girl as high as you can into the wild blue, set me free oh I pray closer to heaven above and closer to you...."

     I glanced at Dad. His fingers were tapping the steering wheel to the tune. I hummed the ending distractedly. "I want to touch the earth, I wanna break it in my hands, I wanna grow something wild and unruly...."

     "What's that number?" he asked, as we turned onto Pike road.

     "3682."

     "Here we are." He gave me an encouraging smile as we pulled into the un-ploughed driveway slowly. "Jeez," he muttered, "They don't have the time to shovel their driveway?"

     "I don't know. But she sounded kind of old."

     He looked at me sarcastically. "Oh."

     I chuckled a little. At age 48, Dad still managed to shovel our entire drive almost single handed.

     Backing the truck close to the garage door deftly, with his single hand guiding the steering wheel, and the other behind my chair, he parked and nodded out the window at the woman by the house. "That must be her."

     I nodded.

     "You want me to come?"

     I looked at him with a little cocky smile. He still acted like I was twelve sometimes. "What were you gonna do, sit in the car the whole time?"

     He grinned back at me and hopped out.

     I noted as I walked closer, that the woman was talking to a young guy, probably my age. I assumed it was her son, and waited until they were done with their conversation, then stretched out my hand to her. "Hi, I'm here to interview for the job."

      She looked at me kind of queerly as she took my hand. She was middle aged, with thin straw brown hair in a tangle to her shoulders. She wore a worn thick jacket with her jeans and brown horse boots. Typical horse person. The smell of smoke reeked from her jacket.

      I wondered at the look she gave me. Maybe she was surprised that a girl like me would want the job. "I talked to you earlier. My name is Margerie."

     She nodded then. "Oh, yeah." She had a funny twang to her voice. 

     "This is my Dad." I turned to him. 

     They shook hands and then she turned to the boy. "Well, I'm sorry about your car. My husband will be here any minute to help you get it out."

     He looked at me with a funny amused sort of smirk on his face, as if he too were thinking I was unqualified for the job. She had told him to wait for her husband, which meant that he wasn't her son after all. 

     "I'll be back," I told Dad.

     The boy was still looking at me quirkily.

     She took me to the barn, watching me to see what I thought of it. I smiled and told her it was nice. I really had to sell myself to her, I could just tell. But, when I saw the chickens I couldn't help but feel a damper put over me.

      "So, you'd clean all the stalls. I've got the chickens in here." She opened the door for me to peek into. 

     I nodded emphatically. "I'm used to chickens. I have eighteen of them at home."

     She cocked her head at me. "Yeah? Layers or meat?"

     "For their eggs."

     "Ah." She seemed to think that that was somehow to be expected. "Watch the roosters. They're awful mean so don't let 'um get behind you cuz they'll attack." 

     I nodded again. "Yeah, we had a couple of those." I hated roosters and watched the large black one carefully. 

     "I've got a donkey and pigs in there." 

     "Aww." I bent to scratch the donkeys nose as it brayed at me hoarsely, knowing that it's noise no where equaled a horses whinny. 

     "She's Lady."

     I followed her as we came to the first real stall. I caught my breath as I saw what looked back at me. A huge brown and cream Clydesdale. It was a beautiful horse and I stood in wonder. 

     She pointed to him. "He's my big shy baby. Name's Bache, for Bache Ball."

     Without a hint of hesitance I went straight up to him and noticed that my head barely reached his nose, and wondered how I would control this horse. I'd find a way though. 

     She glanced at me again with that look, as the horse nudged me and let me pat him. "This is Stormy." She kept right on pointing to the next stall.

     I smiled and pet the sleek Arabian. It was a perfect name. She was white and speckled with black and gray. She whinnied expectantly as we passed her, waiting for freedom. I could almost taste her longing. There were only two more quarter horses in the last double stall, one of them pregnant, due in the spring. They were boarders horses. 

     After we had finished looking the horses over, she showed me where the wood chips and shovels were kept, where I would get the water for the buckets, and where she stored all their food. We talked a little about the amount of chips she wanted to put down, how often to change the water and then we went back out into the cutting cold. Closing the barn door firmly behind me, I again found her looking at me almost with a hint of satisfaction.

     "Good?"

     I smiled. "I love to work with horses."

     She nodded, the look fading from her face. 

     I wondered what that had meant, but followed behind her silently as we waded our way back to  the car. I saw that Dad was helping the kid get his truck out from where it had slid and turned to the woman and shook her hand.

     "Thanks for your time," I said.

     "No problem. I'll give you a call."

     I nodded. "Okay, sounds great. Thanks again."

     She pointed to the end of her driveway. "Be careful down there it gets extra tricky backing out."

     "He can handle it." I looked over to Dad. He puffed into his fists and motioned to the car. 

     I said goodbye, hurried to the truck, jumped in and closed the door behind me with a bang. Exhale. It seemed promising, but I wasn't going to get my hopes up about it. Not yet anyway. 

Comments

I like this.

I can relate a lot to the job/interview/potential boss aspects.  If I were in Margerie's shoes, I'd fell tense and nervous.

Great job writing... I'm earger to read more.  :)

James | Thu, 12/09/2010

<><~~~~~~~~~~~~><>
"The idea that we should approach science without a philosophy is itself a philosophy... and a bad one, because it is self-refuting." -- Dr. Jason Lisle

Will there be more? A couple

Will there be more?

A couple of things - I'm pretty sure it's a Clydesdale horse, (no "i") and in the 5th paragraph, it should be "affected" instead of "effected".

I loved this though - you made me want a horse.  I loved the paragraph where you described Stormy.

Bridget | Fri, 12/10/2010

"I always wonder why birds stay in the same place when they can fly anywhere on the earth. Then I ask myself the same question." - Harun Yahya

Very well-written.

Your description in here was fantastic.  I could feel the cold and see everything you described very clearly.  Great job.

Mary | Sat, 12/11/2010

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
Brother: Your character should drive a motorcycle.
Me: He can't. He's in the wilderness.
Brother: Then make it a four-wheel-drive motorcycle!

Thanks everyone

 I just love to write about life and it's experiences. :)

Mairead | Sat, 12/11/2010

_________________________

"Sweet is the love that never knew a wound, but deeper that which died and rose again." - Mother Mary Francis

very nice!

Very nice, Mamie! You did a great joy with it! Keep writing!

Elizabeth | Fri, 12/17/2010

************

The Holy Spirit is the quiet guest of our soul." -St. Augustine

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