Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Sunlight poured through the dusty window sending ghostlike shadows onto the floor. A gentle breeze sent soft curtains swaying hypnotically back and forth. Somewhere outside, the mournful sounds of cicadas drifted across the morning air. A young woman lay naked on the bed, the sheets pulled back and half-lying on the floor. Beads of sweat trickled across her moist body spilling over her side and disappearing into the already soaked bed.

It was the second year of a drought that had turned the once lush and fertile farmlands of that part of the country into a barren wasteland. Clouds of dust swirled across the vast fields of bull thistle and ragweed. Deep fissures snaked, aimlessly, across the concrete-like earth giving it an eerie, almost unearthly appearance.

Rusted springs screeched as the young woman swung her legs around and sat on the edge of the bed. It had been a long night, a long restless night. She couldn’t remember the last time she had slept the entire night. She ran her fingers through her long blond hair. It was soaked with sweat but felt good in the soft breeze from the open window.

She got to her feet and walked slowly over to the window. The breeze felt good on her bare stomach. She lifted the window as far as it would go. The warm morning air cooled as it caressed her sweaty body. She arched her back and stretched waking her tired muscles to another day.

Jessie peered out the window, across the barren front lawn to the dirt road that ran in front of their farm. She smiled. An older pick up truck was stopped in the road, its motor idling as if it were ready to leap forward at a moment’s notice. More than likely it was teenage boys. Wasn’t the first time. Seemed like they were always out there snooping around, hoping to see something. Good thing for them Frank didn’t see them. He’d surely take a shotgun after them. She turned slowly around to give them the full view, then disappeared from sight. Tires spun sending gravel flying in the air.

The cold shower felt good. It seemed to refresh, almost nourish her. She turned slowly under the showerhead letting the cold water splash over her body until goose bumps appeared. She stepped out of the shower, and, without drying herself with a towel, slipped on a pair of frayed denim shorts and a man’s tee shirt. She walked down the hallway to the kitchen leaving wet footprints behind.

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