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Beginnings

I was looking through my document files (mostly by accident, I was actually searching for pictures and not words) and I came across a story I remembered starting, but left to congeal, quite some time ago. 

This isn't it.

I went looking in the file again, curious, just tonight.  And I found this beginning.  Funny thing is, I don't remember much about writing it.  I remember that I did write it, but the words are almost like they came from someone else.  That happens a lot actually.  All these stories just swirling around up there until one gets big enough to flood out. 

Anyhow, I think it sounds like an interesting start.  I wish I knew where it was supposed to go. 

Hope you like it (and tell me what you think.  Good, bad, or indifferent, I do want to know!.

--


If Laurel was sure of one thing, it was that she had the nicest house in town.  There was really only one other house to compare it with, only one other house with two stories and a big bay window next to the front door.  Both houses had been built by her daddy, way back when.  Except Laurel’s house had a long white-washed porch that stretched all the way across the front and wrapped around the side just like a cable-knit lap blanket.  The other house her daddy built only had 3 rickety steps leading up to a door painted lipstick red.  

Who painted their door to look like a woman’s lips, anyhow?

Truth be told, Eustacia wasn’t much of a town to look at.  Just one long road that ran straight through town and out the other side.  At least, that was the only paved road.  All the other roads – "lanes" was what her mama called them when she was trying to sound fancy – were gravel or dirt and mainly mud except for the two hot summer months when they were more like baby powder from being so dry.  

There were exactly three shops on Main Street, two of them with boarded up windows and heavy locks on the door to keep kids out.  The only shop still open held a rubbage heap conglomeration – mismatched spark plugs, polka-dot ribbon, men’s undergarments and a whole host of other things that are only useful once a year.  There was one restaurant, Colby’s CafĂ©, with red and white checked table cloths and fake flowers on every table.  Colby hisself still ran the place, shuffling around in a greasy white apron and barking orders at the girls in the back who were too busy giggling to pay attention to the old man.  One gas station marked the west end of town, her mama liked to call it "quaint", with old-fashioned pumps that don’t accept credit cards.  On the east end, a shiny new gas station with electronic pumps lorded over the end of town.  Though, if you were driving the opposite way, it’d be the beginning.  

The other houses in town weren’t much to look at, to be sure.  Mostly one story affairs with tilted roofs and peeling paint.  A few here and there were white plaster on the outside, swirled to look like mashed potatoes, but most were crumbling brick or wide brown plank.  No porches, just shambling steps or dangerous looking ramps with rickety handles.  At night the town looked the best on account of there being no street lights.  All the houses could hide under the starlight, remembering the glory days when the little town of Eustacia was new and the money came rolling in on train tracks. 

Fact is, the train don’t even come through Eustacia anymore.

Laurel, feet tucked under her as she sat on the window seat, pressed her nose against the big bay window of the finest house in town and wondered when the rain would stop.  The rippled glass made Laurel’s nose look strangle, highlighting one brown freckle and changing it to look huge.  Little circles of fog formed where her breath huffed out, almost like a cotton-candy mustache.  

She heaved a sigh and sat back, wiping her face print away with the tattered end of a green sweater sleeve.  Four days now it’d been coming down in sheets of silver and gray.  The sun didn’t even bother to show it’s gloomy face, too washed out behind those heavy clouds that hung so low you could almost scoop them up like ice cream.  Most of the roads in town looked like brownies before they were baked and the trees were leaning over like old men. 

“I washed that winder yesterday” her mama said from the sofa.  

“Wind-oh, mama” Laurel replied, forcing her lips deliberately around the proper way to say the word.  Her daddy always did like proper-sounding talk.  “And you can’t even tell I touched it.”

Laurel’s mama was making a baby quilt, her silver needle loaded with baby blue thread and moving through the cloth like a pike darting downstream.   Mama pursed her lips, but the needle kept flying.

Laurel sighed again and let her head rest against the cool pane, brown strands sticking to the dewy glass.  What Laurel needed was some entertainment, like that big ol’ Guthry boy from two streets over.  His mama never did teach him any manners so he was always blurting out something shocking.  Or Patty McCray, she could tell jokes and spin stories better than a book. 

But nobody was going out on account of this rain.  Too muddy, too wet, and too cold. 

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