It is that time of the week again, and I'm joining with Elephant's Child and Mumblings for Words on Wednesday ...
Her four older brothers would tease her in a spastic imitation of her dancing, and their laughter would resonate and amplify on the rock walls of the old barn. When she ran crying from the barn to her mother for sympathy, she was hurt by her mother's blasé response.
"It isn't worth having dreams, honey. You know you'll never go anywhere or be anything other than a farmer's wife. It's what all the women in our family do. It's expected."
She left her family's small organic dairy farm when she was 18. She hadn't even said goodbye to any of her friends or family and had hitchhiked to the nearest town with a Greyhound bus stop, buying a ticket to New York City. She refused to give up on her dreams, she wanted something different. Something more.
He rose in the early morning hours and walked through the frosty field to the barn. He could hear the cows restless for their morning feed. He stopped to look at the bull they had recently bought for a bargain price to help increase the herd and ran his hand over where it had been branded, shaking his head. It was a cruel practice he refused to do to his own cows.
He turned the water valve to full blast and let it run down the trough to clean it from the night before. He thought of her, as he often did in the quiet mornings when he milked the cows and wondered where she was and how she was doing. He wished they'd been able to talk more, but he hadn't known what to say to a young girl with such lofty dreams.
The farm had been in the family for almost 100 years. Dairy farming was in their blood. It was all they knew. That and acres of corn designated to feed the cows. When he had been a boy, he went to an air show once, and for a little while had dreamed of being an airplane pilot. But his father had told him to forget his dream. They were farmers, it was what they had always been.
She put the tickets in an envelope and added extra postage to make sure it got there. Six bus tickets and six front row seats to the Broadway opening night of Lavender Lies in which she had the starring role. It had taken her almost ten years to finally make her dream come true, and she wanted to share it with the ones she loved most.
The envelope sat on the kitchen table waiting for him to come in from the fields. She looked at it out of the corner of her eye as she prepared dinner for him and their sons. She had recognized the handwriting and a small sob escaped when she took it from the mailbox. Postcards had arrived occasionally over the years, letting her know that all was well. That she was happy and was making her dream come true. She had slipped them into her apron pocket and not showed them to him, although she didn't know why. She supposed it was because she wanted to believe that dreams could come true and that if he knew where she was, he might make her give up and come back.
She'd had a dream once herself. Before she became a farmer's wife. Before she became a mother. Once she had gone to a museum and seen the most beautiful painting of a beach on a wall. The sign beneath it said that it was by Claude Monet and an example of Impressionism Art. She had stood before the painting for almost an hour before being pulled away by her friends. Later that night she had dreamed of standing on a beach, feeling the water wash around her feet.
One afternoon when she should have been doing homework she had sketched a beach scene, shading it with her pencil until it looked almost as if it was a photograph. She dreamed of seeing her sketches one day on a museum wall.
The envelope sat in the middle of the dining table, but none of them touched it or spoke of it. Finally, when there were six empty plates around the table he reached for it. They waited to see what he would do. The silence after she had left nearly destroyed him, and he realized he should have said more to her. He carefully opened the envelope and pulled out the contents. There was no letter, no note. Just the tickets and a theater card. He looked up at his wife across the table from him. There were tears in his eyes, and a smile on his lips.
"We're going to need to pack. Our girl is an actress."