She went out the old screen door in the soft darkness of the night, smelling the smells, and hearing the sounds. Sitting back gently against the corner post of the stoop she closed her eyes and let her mind drift.
Inside the cabin, the record player clicked it's way blindly to a new record and the sounds of an old, scratchy blue sax tune wafted out the open windows. The gentle song drifted through the woods and down over the lake.
"Who played that record?" she thought. "Screw it...too late now..." She dug her toes in the mulch around the stoop. The old, brown leaves crumbled underneath the slightest touch. Crumbling was something she was all too familiar with. "Too much crumblin' round heah..."she breathed.
An owl hooted softly in tune to the sax. "Yeah, I can dig it." she mumbled, then, smiled wryly at herself.
"Yup, that's what I would've said..." she didn't even look up. Weathered hiking boots and skin tight blue jeans went by her face. He plopped down on the other corner of the stoop and stared down to the broken down boat dock.
She wouldn't look at him, "What're you doin' here?"
"My house...my lake..."
"Not no mo..." she said to the back of his head, frowning at the length. He'd let it grow back to how it had looked in college... and colored it brown again."It's mine, now... You left it all to me..."
"Ya know, darlin', fer a New Haven school marm.., yer conversation is sorely lacking in discipline." He was staring at the moon now.
"Well, sir, you'd not be the best judge of anyone's discipline," she said, wondering how he had stayed so thin. His jeans looked almost white in the yellow porch light.
"So you told me often enough.., " he aimed his velvetty drawl more at the moon than to her.
She tried to say something witty, looked up into those drop-dead blue eyes of his and was only able to croak, "What are you doing here?"
Afraid of his answer, she closed her eyes and leaned back against the post. In a nearby tree, an owl hooted loudly. She jumped and opened her eyes, he was gone.
"I hate it when he does that..." she went into the silent cabin and gave that picture another flying lesson. It landed over by the fireplace. She picked it up as she went by and put it on the mantle without looking at it. No glass fell. That bit of pane had broken out several flights before.
Passing through the kitchen into the bedroom that they had added that first summer, she was startled again, "ja have a nice walk, dear?"
From where she had stopped, half in and half out of the kitchen, around the bedroom door, she could see two bottom posts of the bed and two feet under his gramma's comforter. He was a bed. There was no mistaking the smell. It was "Garoway's".
As if it were yesterday, she remembered the first time she had smelled it on anyone but her dad. She had followed him into her first college class. He sat right down in the chair in front of hers. That smell and those gorgeous brown curls, had quickly become the only topic of conversation between herself and her best friend, Teena.
Then, one Friday before class in the third week of the semester, they were discussing both topics when she found herself looking into two bottomless pools of blue.
Teena knudged her, "He's talkin' to you."
"Ah sayid, you gotta pencil?"
"Yeah..," she said giving Teena one of those "can you believe this" looks, "I have... a pencil.., " trying to act cooler than she felt.
"Kool..." He continued burning her with those blues.
Trying to hide her shakes, she fumbled through her purse. Her hands trembled so badly that she nearly spilled it all.
"Thankee..." Blessedly, he turned away and the blinding light was again directed at his books. The fire remained.
Teena poked her, "Here's a hanky. You're droolin'.."
"Oh.., the statue speaks."
She dropped her head on her books, "Pretty pitiful, huh?"
"Oh, Yeah..., you big-city girls are smooooth..."
"Well, ...just let me catch my breath. I'll show you smooth."
She chased him down after class to get her pencil back and Teena had not seen her again until class on Monday. It was the first time she had seen this cabin. He had to drag her back to school.
"You comin' in here or not ?"said the feet.
She went inside and leaned up against the bedpost. He was working on one of his books or his next tour. His papers were scattered around him on the quilt. The top of his curly brown hair was getting thinner. The laugh lines around his eyes and the shade of gray at the temples didn't seem to age him. She must have been mistaken before in the dark, his hair was not longer.
After a moment, he looked up at her over his half glasses. He took the pencil out of his mouth and smiled that certain smile, and spoke but one word, "Sugah..?"
She knew instantly that she was blushing. He had always had the ability to make her feel absolutely naked. It didn't matter if she was in her undies or fourteen layers of ski gear. With that look, she was done. She had no defenses against it. Never had. Never would.
She looked away from him to steady herself. "Are you stayin' this time..?"
When he didn't answer her, she looked back. He was gone.
There was what had been there for too long...a rumpled pillow and some wadded up pajamas on the old comforter. She threw herself down on the bed and cried for a time..., for the millionth time.
The morning sun was warm on her back when she was awakened to a knocking on the door. She stumbled through the house, "Who is it...?
Oh, It's you, Teddy."
"Howdy, Miz Tarn. I was branging some folks by ta see yer cabin an' I seen yer truck."
"Yes, I thought I could use some quiet time." she looked around Teddy at the young couple behind him, "I'm sorry, I have decided not to sell... It's just so peaceful here."
They smiled nervously at her and left.
She fely a warm hand on her shoulder and across her back. Without letting Teddy see, she looked out of the corner of her eye. He was gone.
"So you see, Teddy, I'll be keeping this place for a while."
"Hard ta let go of them memories, eh ?"
"Oh, I never think about him anymore."
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Da Bluz Preacher