The Past Leaves A Foot Print : A short story by Bonnielynn
The Past Leaves A Foot Print
THE PAST LEAVES A FOOTPRINT: I don't like being cold ,there are many reasons for this and most assuredly growing up in Michigan surviving the harsh brazen winters imprinted on me as a child a true distaste for cold. I can remember asking my Mum defiantly while I washed the dishes , " You do know there are fifty one other states and some happen to be warm all year ?" The hot soapy water filled the sink as I stood on a chair scrubbing away at the pan used to cook our dinner wearing a huge apron that went to top of my play shoes the red Ked sneakers. My mum sighed, " Bonnie girl you know fully well our dearest family is here and this is where we shall remain" , I turned to look at my beautiful mother soap dropping from my hands, " Mum it's too dam cold here!" . I was five and because I knew my Mum needed help so I was about that strength of character and took hold of most situations. I was "sensible and thrifty" as my Irish Grand Mary would exclaim , " that child has the heart of a lion but she should get a trade as she is not as attractive as her sisters", I frowned feeling trapped looking out the kitchen window as the fall leaves fell. Another winter ahead and I prayed " Dear Jesus have ye not lost the sense of fun at my horrid childhood yet?" I placed the wet cleaned dishes on the rack to dry, and made after dinner tea for my Mum. After chores were completed I ran out side to climb the biggest tree a white birch as high up as I could get pretending I was a pirate on a huge ship mast as the wind moved the tree I imagined it was the sea moving my ship forward. I was happy truly up in that great tall tree, I felt free.
There is a heaven on earth and it lives in a child's imagination.
WAIT FOR IT: I woke early this morning, feeling lighter as I again had vomited all my feelings out spraying profanity and righteous blame out into the internet world. I felt a small bit of guilt on those I burdened with my harsh words but that did not stop me ever, and what crime I had committed? Speaking the truth as I know it to be is never wrong, the fury of my hurt written in words felt like a hemorrhage of pent up emotions. I shrugged off the guilt tired of that burden too.
100 BOTTLES OF BEER ON THE WALL : I was never close to my father, I was close to my father's father, my Grand Father, never was there a more hard working decent man, who remained confused on his son's selfishness and cruelty. I loathed my father's treatment of my Mum, I forgave him when I was eight because I understood he was a damaged soul but I never felt close to him.
One day he died but then we all do:
It was a Michigan frozen day as winter had wrapped her arms around the world I lived in a farming community where miles separated the farms. Pulling on my bread bags to cover my feet my Mum helped me put on my winter boots after two pairs of socks were placed over the plastic bags. My boots had holes in them so the plastic keep the wet away from my toes but not the cold. I wore my red jacket with the safety pin on the upper left portion of the collar, and a huge scarf made from the wool of the Grand Fathers sheep. Many items were hand made because we were just that poor, but they were made with loving care to be shared by everyone in the family. My father had just left us about a week prior and I was the most happiest then, as the trouble went with him, the drinking violence too. We had nothing to eat, and the phones were out due to lack of payment, my Mum put two huge bags of empty beer bottles in my arms, " now Bonnie girl take these back to the store for money, please buy some bread and milk". I nodded struggling with the huge bags and the smell of beer made my empty stomach lurched as I headed toward the door. My mother could not make the journey she had heart problems, near dying when I was born, so I understood feeling no confliction at such a big task for a small child. It was a two mile journey to the store, through the small woods where the pond was located, I did love to ice skate when I could, I never felt cold when I skated. The air was crisp as my breath would hang in the air as a near frozen cloud, I sang songs on my journey carrying the bags, and as I neared the store my hands were numb I could hear the bread bags crackle as I moved my fingers. I entered the store with a push of frozen cold to the bones air stumbling with the beer bottles thankful that they did not tumble out, I was on " thin ice" with the old man who owned the store. I took the bags to the counter and while looking down at me the store owner said, " why look who it is the destroyer of my display items", my nose started running as the warm air melted the ice inside my nose. I said not a word as I knew better, I waited for him to speak, " well? what do you have there you tiny terror?" I looked up into his eyes speaking, " My Mum sent me here to deliver these bottles that my drunken father left behind for bread and milk" . The store owner looked like I had slapped him, I often wondered why the truth was so shocking to adults? He took the bags of empty bottles from my arms, " Your Mr. Edwards Grand Daughter right?" I nodded, he asked, " Why doesn't he help your poor mother buy food?" I felt my face burn with anger, what did he know of the goodness of people uniformed? I replied, " My Mum tells him nothing of our troubles, we do not burden people". Again the store owner looked shocked, " Oh well I can understand that, but I don't take these bottles so I cannot give you any money". I never dropped my eyes, " oh, I see ok then", I turned to leave pulling the bags towards me, as the store owner pulled them back. I thought is "this a robbery over beer bottles?" I paused to look up at him, he said quietly, " leave these here I will return them to the bar where your father drinks, go get the bread and milk, don't forget to get some candy for yourself". My turn to look shocked, I did not move, and he pushed, " it's ok your family needs to eat, you are paying me as I will take the bottles back for cash". I didn't move as I was confused by his words, usually he was yelling at me to leave his store. He pulled the bags out of my hands placing them on the floor behind the counter and pointed towards the groceries, " it's getting dark you have a long walk home NOW please get your groceries", I understood finally and took two loaves of bread and a gallon of milk to the counter. The store owner placed the groceries in plastic bags knowing I had a long walk ahead of me, and a chocolate bar into my hand, " here you eat this on the way home you have earned it". I backed out of the store not dropping my eyes waiting for the yelling and he just laughed, " GO home child!" I walked home carrying the groceries and stopping to eat the candy letting the chocolate seep into my taste buds and down my throat I prayed my thanks, " Dear Jesus you did ok today thank you", as I made my way home it was becoming a darkness and the cold was a rabid dog biting my skin. I hated the cold and being cold, promised myself when I was grown I would move to where the sun lived everyday, so I could run for hours . A few days later the milk delivery man came to the door and as I answered it , he smiled, I did not return the same, I was suspicious of him asking, " You do know we haven't ordered because we have no money my drunken father left us". The man smile never left his face, " I know and I wanted to tell your mother that I will continue her weekly order and to not worry about payment" He placed a huge box in front of the door as he stepped away, " People know but not many and we want to help " I stood there with the screen door between us, as my Mum approached and exclaimed, " Bonnie girl look there is enough food for a week" she ran out the door to thank the delivery man, I watched her apron flapping as she caught up with him to shake his hand. Few days I saw my Mum like that, and it made my heart full of gladness she deserved to be happy every day. We learned later that the grocery store owner had put the word out of our troubles and had organized a community out reach for us, that kindness remains in my heart today, and why I help the homeless. If you wait for it a good kindness will come your way.